Land owner rights are dud­ded

Dalby Herald - - NEWS OPINION - — Ge­orge Houen

Dear Edi­tor,

IT’S the change you have when you’re not hav­ing a change, or at least that’s how Min­is­ter Lyn­ham de­picts his amend­ment of the com­pen­sa­tion en­ti­tle­ments for coal seam gas ac­tiv­i­ties – and it’s un­true. Fail­ure to dis­close this par­tic­u­lar amend­ment upon in­tro­duc­tion of the bill be­cause it is al­legedly not a ma­te­rial change, can be rea­son­ably seen as an at­tempt to avoid scru­tiny.

On Oc­to­ber 18 Par­lia­ment passed the Min­eral, Wa­ter and Other Leg­is­la­tion Amend­ment Bill, with the LNP’s sup­port.

The part both par­ties like to talk about is the nu­mer­ous fair and sen­si­ble amend­ments em­a­nat­ing from Pro­fes­sor Scott’s Gas­fields Com­mis­sion re­view. But they try to avoid the is­sue of own­ers be­ing stripped of com­pen­sa­tion for over­all gas­field ac­tiv­i­ties which re­late to their land, such as com­pres­sor sta­tion noise.

So if your prop­erty is de­val­ued or ren­dered ef­fec­tively un­saleable be­cause of the over­all gas­field ef­fects, too bad – ac­cord­ing to the amend­ment sup­ported by both ma­jor par­ties you’re not en­ti­tled and never have been en­ti­tled to com­pen­sa­tion for that loss, even though air­borne pol­lu­tion such as noise, dust, gases and odours gen­er­ated on other peo­ple’s land is of­ten the ma­jor rea­son for loss of value of a gas­field-af­fected prop­erty.

Legally a pol­icy wouldn’t over­ride the leg­is­la­tion any­way, but the Min­is­ter and his depart­ment claim its al­ways been the gov­ern­ment’s pol­icy in­tent that land­hold­ers only be com­pen­sated for the im­pacts of those gas­field ac­tiv­i­ties that are lo­cated on their own land.

PHOTO: ROB WIL­LIAMS

HEAT’S ON: Min­is­ter An­thony Lyn­ham is un­der scru­tiny.

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