The Queensland Government has allowed a foreign gas company to destroy some of the best brigalow farming and grazing country in the State
STRATEGIC Cropping Land status has been removed from 90 per cent of the land in the Bellevue area north of Wandoan.
The state government last week approved the application by coal seam gas company QGC to have the status removed from more than 25,000ha, out of a total 29,680ha applied for, on the basis that it fails the slope criteria.
In doing so, only four parcels of land out of 121 affected were ground-truthed, a level of rigour that Roma solicitor Tom Marland said provided “little hope” to anyone else that their land would be protected.
The application was made just before the new Regional Planning Interests Act, with supposedly more stringent conditions, came into force.
“The old SCL has now been repealed and replaced,” Mr Marland said.
The Djungan native title holders of Mt Mulligan near Dimbulah have found another champion in their quest to prevent coal seam gas mining near the iconic, spiritual landmark.
Greens Senator Larissa Waters has vowed to redouble her efforts at a state and federal level to stop any mining activities in the area after touring the Mt Mulligan site on Tuesday.
An application from a Brisbane company to explore for gas under the Petroleum and Gas Act 2004 is sitting on the desk of Mines Minister Andrew Cripps awaiting approval.
“Anyone wanting to mine in this area is just greedy. We can’t risk harming the water catchment for all downstream users,” Senator Waters said.
“I will work with all stakeholders to ensure this area is left alone because of its high heritage value and its spiritual significance to the local Djungan people.”
Tour guide ‘Judulu’ of Yarrabah said the Djungan people had to protect Nguddaboolgan (Mt Mulligan) because of its unique spirituality for his people.
“If it is mined or destroyed it would be spiritual genocide of the Djungan.
“This is after all the first mining site in the state to have a protest against mining by Aborigines in the early 1920’s,” Judulu said.
Judulu and Senator Waters look over the Mt Mulligan site, 16oklm NW of Cairns.
A Mareeba farmer has warned Tableland landowners that dealing with coal seam gas mining companies can take a heavy toll on family life, finances and the environment.
FNQ Lock the Gate Alliance has been holding meetings in the far north campaigning against unconventional gas extraction after an application to explore for coal and gas was made over the historic Mt Mulligan coal field, northwest of Dimbulah.
Speaking at a gathering of landowners at Dimbulah on Sunday, Kane Booth said his involvement with coal seam gas extraction on one of his farming properties had placed a heavy burden on his personal life and distracted from his ability to run the business.
“I have been dealing with gas companies wanting to access our family’s Chinchilla property for five years and it has been a big financial effort to fight them which has placed a hold on our feedlot business forcing us to sell cattle at a loss,” Mr Booth said.
The (CSG) fracking process had already destroyed a part of the underground water aquifer in the district where some water bore levels have dropped and he said that he had seen a film where bore water can be light with a match.
“I am warning the local traditional owners at Mt Mulligan that there will be very little money or jobs in any gas activities and I hope people don’t think they will be getting much work from this industry,” Mr Booth said.
“When the exploration stage finishes there will be no local jobs available because most companies use fly-in-fly-out workers.”
Protest group Knitting Nannas Against Gas (KNAG) spokeswoman Mary-Beth Gundrum said the evidence of adverse health effects from gas wells located near dwellings was overwhelming.
“Families in and around the Tara and Chinchilla areas have been bullied by the gas companies and had their health negatively impacted by fugitive gas,” Ms Gundrum said.
“These gas companies are 83 per cent-foreign owned and do not care about our economy or sending domestic gas prices through the roof.”
Atherton geologist Rob Ryan told the meeting that if proper gas drilling methods were used there was little chance of cross-contamination of water aquifers with gas or fracking chemicals.
He said he believed the Mt Mulligan gas field on its own would not contain sufficient reserves to sustain a local CSG industry.
Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Andrew Cripps said Calcifer Industrial Minerals Pty Ltd had applied for a permit under the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 to explore for gas at Mt Mulligan.
“That application is going through a rigorous State Government assessment process and no decisions have yet been made whether or not to grant the permit application,” Mr Cripps said.
If granted, coal seam gas exploration could soon begin at Mt Mulligan.
Dimbulah businesswoman Gaye Taylor, geologist Rob Ryan, Mareeba farmer Kane Booth, and Djungan elder Maxene Thompson attended a coal seam gas meeting held at Dimbulah on Sunday.
from ABC and Cairns News
Coal seam gas company QGC has lodged an application with the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines which could see the Strategic Cropping Land status of some land deeds in the Wandoan region removed.
Strategic Cropping Land is land that has the soil quality, topography and rainfall that allows more than one quality crop to be grown on a commercial agricultural basis.
The State Government has mapped areas that could potentially be Strategic Cropping Land but asks landholdesr to then validate that status.
A coal seam gas company can also submit a validation application that the land is not Strategic Cropping Land.
Queensland Gas Corporation is attempting to bulldoze over the rights of Wandoan farmers many of whom hold Freehold title, which under the State’s land tenure system offers no protection to voracious gas companies.
The Wandoan district(400 klm NW Toowoomba) has for decades produced some of the best prime hard wheat in the country and its brigalow, bottle tree, vine scrub soils are naturally rich in humus and nitrogen.
Abattoirs will attest to the high standard of fat bullocks consigned from the Wandoan area over many decades.
About 175 landholders around Wandoan are involved in the application.
Roma lawyer Tom Marland says it is an involved process to justify Strategic Cropping Land status.
“They’ve got to go out, take field measurements which are fairly intensive. [They] look at 10 hectare lots and look at slope measurements and also probably seek agronomy advice in relation to the measurements and the technical parametres to meet the criteria,” he said.
Mr Marland says it will be difficult for some landholders to meet the requirements within the timeframe.
Chairman of the Basin Sustainability Alliance David Hamilton agrees, saying landholders are concerned about the short time frame they have to justify their Strategic Cropping Land designation.
“They’ve got a very short period of time to object to the application and to do the job properly, they need expert advice,” Mr Hamilton said.
“What QGC is doing is legally quite sound but I think what the community would expect is that they abide by the intent of the legislation which is to give landholders more say on how a gas company might operate on their property.”
A spokesperson for QGC says land that is the subject of their application is regarded as potential strategic cropping land only, that is, it has not been decided whether it is or is not strategic cropping land.
The law says that land that is unsuitable for cropping, or which has not routinely been cropped, is not strategic cropping land and that is why the company has lodged the application.
The company says it is following the process and timeframes set by Government and QGC has written to every affected landholder, and placed ads in local newspapers, to let them know what we are doing and why and that QGC remains committed to negotiating with landholders fully and properly before undertaking any work on their land.
For the State government to allow the invasion of coal seam gas companies into this quality country is a tragedy of the highest proportion.
IT IS TIME TO CREATE THE NEW STATE OF NORTH QUEENSLAND
Coal Seam Gas exploration is about to start in Far North Queensland. A recent public information day held at Mareeba was visited by 150 people most of whom voiced their opposition to this insidious industry owned and operated by foreign companies, which are exploiting Australian gas reserves to the detriment of the future generation.
There will be little or no permanent work for local people of the districts in which the gas wells operate. There is no direct, lasting economic benefit to the people of Far North Queensland.
The environmental hazards associated with the ‘fracturing’ method of gas extraction threaten the very survival of underground water supplies. Hydrologists believe the Great Artesian Basin could be poisoned by chemical cocktails pumped underground into the fractured water aquifers and that these subterranean water reserves eventually could be contaminated and drained, effectively depopulating the interior of the State in time to come.
A drilling exploration company has been issued with a permit to explore known coal reserves at Mt Mulligan, west of Mareeba, in the iconic Mitchell River catchment.
This will be the start of the Far Northern CSG industry. The LNP State Government in totally controlled by the CSG industry and there will be no respite from it.
An alliance of indigenous groups, conservationists and land owners has initiated the Cairns rally where more information about this destructive industry can be heard.
If you are serious about helping protect FNQ from this foreign-owned scourge come along to the information day at
FOGARTY PARK, CAIRNS ESPLANADE, SATURDAY AUGUST 2, STARTING AT 2PM
For more information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
www.lockthegate.org.au or CSG free NQ on Facebook
Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) has joined forces with FracFocus.ca to get oil and gas companies to publicly disclose information on the fluids used in their hydraulic fracturing operations.
On Wednesday, the NEB signed an agreement with the BC Oil and Gas Commission – which runs the FracFocus website – the US-based Ground Water Protection Council and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.
“We understand that Canadians demand that hydraulic fracturing be done safely, responsibly and transparently,” NEB CEO Gaétan Caron noted in a statement. “Joining FracFocus.ca is another step in making sure Canadians have ready access to important information on the process and understand how the NEB promotes safety and environmental protection for these types of activities.”
All companies regulated by the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act will have 30 days after a fracturing operation is complete to post on FracFocus.ca details of their practices and the fluids they used. The areas under this jurisdiction include the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, the Arctic offshore and certain frontier lands and offshore areas not covered by provincial and federal agreements.
The NEB expects this intiative to be fully operational by early 2014.
Hydraulic fracturing is strongly opposed by various environmental groups, primarily because of the chemicals used in the process. Hydraulic fracturing blends are often exempt from disclosure because they’re considered a trade secret.
CSG moratorium Bill critically important as risks to aquifers exposed
2 April 2013: KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter says that the CSG aquifer drilling moratorium Bill he introduced in parliament should be implemented immediately after last night’s Four Corners program highlighted a flawed approval process which fails to properly address environmental risks to water supplies.
Mr Katter’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Moratorium on Aquifer Drilling Connected with Coal Seam Gas Extraction) Bill 2013 that was introduced earlier this year places a moratorium on aquifer drilling for coal seam gas extraction.
In response to the story Mr Katter said, “The Four Corners exposé provides further evidence that the gas companies are running the State”.
Earlier in the year, Mr Katter told Parliament of reports that some 18,000 wells had already been agreed to by the Queensland Government – but even that may not be enough to make the three liquefaction plants in Gladstone economically viable, according to media reports.
“And all of these wells are going down in the very productive agricultural areas of Queensland, not in the bad-land areas where no one is going to give a damn”.
Mr Katter warned of the potentially catastrophic social and economic costs of CSG aquifer drilling contaminating the Great Artesian Basin, the lifeblood of Australia’s cattle and sheep industries, which produce about one-third of Australia’s agricultural export earnings and tens of thousands of jobs.
“If the underground aquifer was to be contaminated, or if it was to run down to a level where we could not economically extract water, then all of those industries would be impacted,” Mr Katter said.
“The ethanol industry has been sacrificed, major industrial operations have been compromised and Australian industries now have their backs forced up against the wall as a result of ridiculously high water charges”.
Meanwhile, as confirmed in the Four Corners report, Australia’s gas industry was almost completely foreign-owned, added Mr Katter.
“So what will Australia get out of it? Clearly, one of the things we are going to get out of it is mildly and sometimes seriously contaminated aquifers. But a very serious loss of our underground water supply.
“It’s appalling that the industries that reap great benefits for Australia like seafood, farming and cattle are having their water applications rejected for a measly 5 mega litres a month while local CSG operations have no trouble in getting 40 million litres a month from an industry that provides no financial benefits to the Australian community.
“Is it more important to make foreign corporations rich than to protect the future of our landholders and contamination of our water?
“There’s no money in it for Australia but I suspect there’s lots of money in it for the ALP-LNP corporations,” Mr Katter said.