ALL roads lead to Roma later this month, when land rights advocates from Queensland and southern states meet to discuss burning issues such as the coal seam gas industry, environmental laws and Wild Rivers legislation.
The Darling Downs agricultural centre now also in the expanding methane gas heartland, will host the annual conference of Property Rights Australia on June 24 – 25.
PRA chairman Ron Bahnisch said yesterday the conference theme of Rights Undermined would focus on problems landowners were experiencing with coal seam gas mining and exploration.
Chairman of coal seam gas group, the Basin Sustainability Alliance, Mr Ian Hayllor, would also outline property owners’ “line in the sand” position on strategic cropping land and the Great Artesian Basin, which could be placed at risk by mining activities.
As principal speaker, he would be supported by several landowners who would recount their experiences with the gas companies. These included Mr Neville Stiller of Guluguba, who has a 600-man gas workers’camp just across the road from his house.
Another speaker, Mr Graham Clapham, is among a group of landholders who obtained backing from the National Farmers Federation (NFF) Fighting Fund for a Land Court challenge to the gas company’s environmental impact statement on their prime Brookstead agricultural land.
Mr Bahnisch said PRA also backed a new call by a peak Queensland farm organisation and a conservation group for the State Government to “take the foot off the gas” to protect the environment and future food production.
On the eve of a coal seam gas summit in Brisbane, AgForce and the Queensland Conservation Council (QCC) expressed their concerns about the rapid expansion of the coal seam gas industry across the state, labelling it the single biggest threat to Queensland’s environment, community health and farming.
AgForce policy director Drew Wagner and QCC executive director Toby Hutcheon renewed calls for a moratorium on further CSG development until a framework was developed to eliminate negative environmental, social and agricultural impacts.
Mr Bahnisch said PRA had supported earlier calls for a moratorium as there were already 4000 CSG wells in production with some 36,000 additional wells planned for Queensland.
“It is imperative that landowners rights, productive agricultural land and the environment, particularly the Artesian Basin, are adequately protected,” Mr Bahnisch said.
“At our Roma conference we will also report on our latest court appearances and spend some time on the Wild Rivers and Barrier Reef Environmental Risk Management Plan’s regulations, “ Mr Bahnisch said.
“Landowners’ rights in these areas will be offered up for Green preferences to get a victory in the Ashgrove electorate at the next election, where Labor Minister, Kate Jones, is challenged by LNP leader Campbell Newman,” he said.
“The Mayor of Burke Shire, Mrs Annie Clarke, will give an insight into the administration of the Wild Rivers Act in the Gulf and Cape York Peninsula, supported by Stuart Mackenzie from Plevna Downs in the south western Channel Country, a proposed Wild Rivers area.
“A speaker in the first session will be John Darley, an Independent Member of the South Australian Legislative Council, who believes that the taking of landowners’ rights by all tiers of government should be fully compensated,” Mr Bahnisch said. Mr Darley was a Valuer General in the 1980’s when SA landowners were fully compensated for vegetation retention, he said.
For further information contact:
Ron Bahnisch, “Bower Park,” 290 Fairybower Road, Gracemere, QLD 4702
Ph: (07) 49 334 011 Mobile: 0409 334 211 Email: email@example.com
PRA is a non-profit organisation of primary producers and business people from rural
areas defending the rights of property owners