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10 May, 2022

Darling Downs farmers fighting back against CSG activities

On Thursday 5th May, distressed farmers and concerned citizens attended a Gas Fields Commission Queensland (GFCQ) pop up shop at Myall Youth Centre, Dalby.

Several farmers, supported by landholder advocate Shay Dougall, handed over a list of grievances including the statement, ‘We are here to demand these activities are suspended until the massive problems farmers have been yelling about for years have been resolved to our satisfaction.’

GFCQ was originally set up as an independent body to assist land owners dealing with the complexities of the enforceable hosting of Coal Seam Gas (CSG) activities.

Gayle J. Pedler, a farmer from the eastern side of the Condamine River, said the general feeling is that the commission is nothing more than a facilitator of the expansion of CSG across Queensland.  

“GFCQ hide behind the statement ‘it is a statutory not a regulatory body’ but they have authority to make recommendations to Government Acts such as their latest review and unsatisfactory recommended changes to the Regional Planning Interests Act 2014,” she said. 

Ms Pedler stated that  farmers in the meeting believe the government is doing nothing to protect the rights of farmers from CSG expansions onto their land. 

“It was pointed out to GFCQ that area wide planning for Arrow Energy (Petro China/Shell) to expand their activities along and near the western boundary of the Condamine River and under the river were incomplete and lacked clarity and precision,” she said.

“No further meetings or written updates have happened since August/September 2021, and yet Arrow has been handing out conduct and compensation agreements and pushing to hand out their unregulated Deviated Well Agreements.  

Ms Pedler said there are three government departments involved in managing these issues - the Department of Development and Infrastructure, the Department of Resources and the Department of Environment.  

“Prior to the event, displeasure was expressed at the lack of representation of these three departments in Dalby,” she said.

Land Access Ombuds-man representatives were available on the day but only deal with CCA not DWA agreements.

It was made clear that farmers on both sides of the river are not convinced that sufficient research has been undertaken and correctly interpreted relating to subsidence, Condamine alluvium, and the Horrane geological fault.

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