The pre-eminent rural and regional women’s association in NSW, the Country Women’s Association (CWA) (NSW), along with the dairy industry group Dairy Connect and AGL Energy Limited (AGL) Managing Director and CEO, Andy Vesey, today became the latest signatories to landholder access principles that ensure private agricultural landholders’ wishes are respected in the conduct of coal seam gas drilling operations.
The new signatories join Santos Ltd, the NSW Farmers Association, Cotton Australia and the NSW Irrigators Council who, along with AGL, signed the original “Agreed Principles of Land Access” in March 2014.
“AGL is delighted that the CWA and Dairy Connect, as representatives of agricultural businesses, landholders and rural and regional families, have become signatories to this important declaration that formalises a collaborative approach between farmers and their industry associations, along with AGL and Santos,” said Mr Vesey.
“These principles reinforce AGL’s longstanding approach to working cooperatively with landholders and the communities where we work and live, in relation to our natural gas drilling operations,” he said.
The principles state:
- Any landholder must be allowed to freely express their views on the type of operations that should or should not take place on their land without criticism, pressure, harassment or intimidation. A landholder is at liberty to say “yes” or “no” to the conduct of coal seam gas drilling operations (Operations) on their land;
- Gas companies confirm that they will respect the landholder’s wishes and not enter onto a landholder’s property to conduct Operations where that landholder has clearly expressed the view that Operations on their property would be unwelcome; and
- The parties will uphold the landholder’s decision to allow access for Operations and do not support attempts by third party groups to interfere with any agreed Operations. The parties condemn bullying, harassment and intimidation by third party groups and individuals in relation to the agreed Operations.
“AGL understands the importance of successfully working side by side farmers and local communities, as we have done for 14 years at our Camden Gas Project, where our wells can be found co-existing safely with dairies, farms and horse studs,” Mr Vesey said.
The Camden and Gloucester Gas Projects currently have more than 50 landholder agreements in place.