Daniel Young - Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party fails our farmers
"Energy security is a 'hot' topic this week and lessons must be learnt from it. A Bill will hit the Upper house soon to enshrine in legislation the current moratorium on conventional gas extraction.
Whilst the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party of Victoria supports the ban on fracking, we do not believe conventional gas extraction should be thrown in with a bad lot. It does not pose the same environmental risks as fracking and other processes.
I will seek support to amend this Bill and remove the clauses which target conventional gas and to drive some conversation with the government about the future of the industry and the benefits that Victorian gas supply can have on energy security and cost effective supply for Victorian businesses.
We will also be seeking discussions on rights of farmers to refuse access should they wish and royalties schemes for local communities."
As Daniel was part of the Victorian Gas Inquiry, he has clearly not read the prospectivity reports for the Otways as the big gas does not exist so I can only assume that Daniel has been covertly influenced to progress an exploration industry to do no more than capital raise to pay the wages of the exploration companies. The end result will not see a solution to Victoria's energy problems. As for conventional gas extraction not posing the same environmental risks is the most ignorant and dangerous comment he could have made. See my collection of relevant documents on what has happened in Gippsland as a result of conventional mining > Land Subsidence I would expect Daniel to know the following geology and landowner considerations as well as the appropriate Petroleum Act
If he doesn't, WHY NOT?
The specific geology is one of the primary concerns that should form the basis of Government scientific data that can prove onshore gas development will not impact the aquifer system.
The main sedimentary layer of the Otway Basin is limestone and is what makes the coastal region of southwest Victoria as fragile as is evidenced in tourism assets along the Great Ocean Road with limestone cliffs when sinkholes met with receding cliff lines and natural rock formations formed through erosion.
This Basin covers two states with groundwater flow generally from Victoria to South Australia across the state border. The direction of flow is northeast to southeast in the southern part of the Designated Area, east to west in the central part, and southeast to northeast in the northern part.
An aquifer does not end at the State border nor does an aquifer end under State jurisdictional control offshore rather they flow into Commonwealth waters and crossover State boundaries.
The legal, social and economic implications if a State endorses onshore gas extraction compromising an aquifer system of other jurisdictional control would be extremely problematic.
Another consideration is the growing increase in seismic activity all along the coast of Victoria from subsurface vertical and horizontal movements with the Otway Basin riddled with fault lines. Interesting that the Federal Government want to close down geology centres collecting data to hide this increase.
Daniel needs to be satisfied how the aquifer will be recharged, particularly if future climate is to be drier, what impact on movement of lateral groundwater flows will be affected by gas and water extraction and subsequent subsidence potentially impacting natural sinkholes and any loss in hydraulic gradient and what that would mean for the diverse industries dependent on this groundwater.
To resume exploration of conventional gas, Daniel would be destining Gippsland farmers to more exploration when the prospectivity reports clearly state that conventional reserves are not there. There is gas everywhere but it is not recoverable for commercial production, that is the difference.
- I will assume Daniel realises that you cannot split the state in two and say that only conventional exploration work is to occur on the west of the state.
- And I also assume he knows that he will be destining all Victorian farmers to exploration wells being drilled on their land under a work plan because a proponent of a licence must work that licence and must drill in exploration/retention stage to determine that the gas is not there yet pretend it is.
- Again, I assume he knows that that same proponent can hold security of tenure over ours land progressing to a retention licence meaning the Ponzi game can ransom our lands for up to 30 years before production would even start and it never will because enough is known about the geology.
- A land access agreement is binding on all subsequent owners so who is going to buy a property that has a licence on it or existing exploration well knowing that they will be liable for well maintenance into perpetuity.
- All existing licences in place will remain adding uncertainty to the farmer which is toxic to agricultural productivity. Did you know that Daniel?
Problems with land access agreements and disclosure of drilling risks -
- Shareholders are warned but many landowners are not even though they are signing legally-binding contractual agreements in exploration stages without any real understanding of liabilities or protections from liability.
- Disclosures should state plainly that property covered by a License might violate the terms of a current mortgage or make it impossible to secure a mortgage, refinance or secure insurance on the property in the future.
- Compensation should be paid in acknowledgement of those risks
It is important that the landowner press for a contract which allocates responsibility for managing the risk and any adverse outcome onto the licensee operator, specifically for insurance liability on export of livestock under the National Vendor declaration.
Waste water discharge to land -
- Landowners should know upfront if discharge of wastewater to land would impact their business requirements.
- Buffer and separation distances should be clearly outlined to ensure exposure risks from chemicals, toxic gas, accidents and spills are reduced.
- Currently, no presumptive liability exists.
This becomes a barrier to agricultural development, small business confidence, transfer of land and community renewal.
Section 32 does not currently cover Retention Licences so the area of vendor disclosure now comes into play meaning the purchase of land may, in the future, prevent purchaser from using the land from original intention.
To lawyers, realtors, conveyancers and insurance underwriters
- Lending institutions and insurance companies should be involved in the negotiations of any compensation agreement to ensure sufficient compensation covers the loss of value of the property or any loss of income able to be generated from such property.
- Land compensation, under the Act, is often for loss of land per hectare whereas a bank will develop the whole of the property over time so percentage of loss per years if way more than what a mining company is prepared to pay.
- Exploration & Retention licences can bind a landholder to a licence tenement for up to 30 years in respect of the whole or any part of land within the boundaries of a primary tenement.
- There a risk that loan paperwork could be recalled if property owners allow mining on their land essentially creating a covenant, though not visible on the title, contractually binding all subsequent heirs and successors in Title?
- Will a landowner be able to access insurance.
- Marketability of a property can be compromised by not being able to attract appropriate insurance coverage.
- The storage of hazardous materials on a residential property could technically be in default of mortgage contracts
This is but a fraction of the complications Daniel Young could unleash on Victoria.
If your farmers want exploration give them the real facts about exploration and no sugarcoating.