21st December 2010
Coal Seam Gas and LNP
I met the member for Callide, Jeff Seeney MLA, in politics nearly 30 years ago and we’ve been involved in one two
situations, backing each other, ever since…… that is, until yesterday.
Last week, board member Joanne Rea and I attended a public meeting called by concerned members of the LNP
in the Miles area to relieve fury generated by remarks favouring the CSG industry, attributed to the Shadow
Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, Jeff Seeney.
The meeting was attended by nearly 100 people and followed one convened at Dalby in the morning for the same
purpose. It was addressed by Laurence Springborg and Howard Hobbs. The feeling of rage was so palpable that if
the member for Callide had attended, the main hall would have been required. Two Vietnam vets gave
impassioned speeches deploring Chinese owned gas companies buying Australian soil. An invalid pensioner
couple in tears told how they were forced to sell a house and 500 acres at Columboola to the mining companies
for less than they needed to purchase a house in town.
I identified myself as PRA chairman and flagged running two test cases in the Land Court, one for prime
agricultural land and one for prime grazing land, to establish benchmarks for compensation for disturbance and
“injurious affection” (a legal term denoting the loss of value sustained by that part of the enterprise not directly
affected by mining activity). These cases should be mounted ASAP to give everyone a chance to use the publicly
available precedent to get the best deal in negotiations. In the meantime, a little publicised provision in the
present law to agree to defer an agreement to a future date should be used.
However, I was not given an entirely sympathetic hearing because I prefaced my remarks by defending the
member for Callide’s stated position. I have read all his contributions to the debate as recorded in Hansard and
could not disagree with any of them, only to say the LNP should have swallowed their pride and supported the
Independent’s pre-emptive move seeking a moratorium, a course supported by all the representative gas groups
and Agforce. Instead, political bastardry once more prevailed over good government.
In his windup speech, Howard Hobbs unequivocally promised to immediately pass a bill enshrining a Charter of
Inalienable Property Rights for landowners on regaining government – an undertaking coincidentally given at
many PRA Annual Meetings in laudatory speeches by the Shadow Minister, Jeff Seeney.
In view of the above, yesterday’s unprovoked attack on PRA is totally mystifying. If it is to bolster a flagging
position by inventing a straw man, the member has crossed the Rubicon.
I’m the only official spokesman for PRA and while I’ve been present at certain recent public events, I’ve said
nothing publicly. I’ve been granted the right of reply in the Qld Country Life, so watch this space.
We will need funds to do anything in the courts so please give our appeal your earnest consideration. With Christmas upon us and the present extraordinary weather conditions it is the worst possible time to be seeking funds.
I hesitate to make this suggestion but if on average we can double the amount of our membership fees by
donations we will be able to proceed. In our case, PRA’s membership fees are easily the lowest of any of the
industry organisations we belong to. However, larger donations are extremely welcome.
Veg Management Case
We must all rejoice that the Connolly family’s trauma is at an end as of today. An unsolicited testimonial from
Madonna is enclosed.
Thankyou for your support over 2010. We wish you all a happy Christmas and a bright and prosperous New Year.
Ron Bahnisch, Chairman
Property Rights Australia