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National law firm, Slater and Gordon, has called on the NSW Government to set up a ‘one stop information shop’ where farmers and land owners can get comprehensive information on coal seam gas exploration and their legal rights.
Mr David Aitken, from Slater and Gordon Rural and Regional Practice in Gunnedah, has written to NSW Minister for Mineral Resources, The Hon Chris Hartcher, formally requesting the site be established.
Mr Aitken said it is very difficult for farmers to know where to start looking for information when a coal seam gas company knocks on the door and demands access to their property.
“What needs to be put in place is a comprehensive website dedicated to this single issue and which can point farmers and landowners in the right direction,” Mr Aitken said.
“Coal seam gas companies who want to go onto a property must then be required to let the farmer know about the web site and where this information is available.
“Too often farmers, either because of lack of money or experience are effectively bullied off their land by demanding and aggressive coal seam gas companies.
“With more freely available information it might give land owners a fighting chance against such large corporations,” Mr Aitken said.
The web site could provide details such as:
- Access rights and land sales information;
- Environmental protection information;
- Details about loss of business compensation
- Information on accessing arbitration;
- Information on the Land and Environment Court process, and
- Who to call to get more information
Slater and Gordon has acted for more than 80 farmers and landholders against coal seam gas companies across NSW in the past few years.