Trampling farmer’s rights to protect farmland from CSG.

“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’- 
Ronald Reagan

Several days ago here in a post, “Protecting cropping land from mining, and farmers” I mentioned some of the nasties that were included in a Draft State Planning Policy for Strategic Cropping Land.  A number of normal farming activities would be removed from local control and be subject to central government decisions.

Dale Stiler from ‘Just Grounds’ has sent in a link, which makes it clear that this is a whole lot more serious than the issues raised before. Now it appears that an incredible number of activities that farmers could be expected to carry out in the pursuit of diversification, will be illegal on land that is designated “Strategic cropping land.”

The National Farmers Federation is skeptical as to the degree of protection afforded, and Carbon Sense Coalition chairman Viv Forbes, has found serious problems in the draught: 

Carbon Sense Coalition chairman Viv Forbes said the policy would stop farmers subdividing their land.

“Any other developments on their blighted land will be banned or difficult,” Mr Forbes said.  “Imagine the obstacles should they want to develop a racehorse stud, a feedlot, a new house or a private forest?” he said.

“Farmers will be condemned to be pastoral peasants on cropping land controlled forever, paddock by paddock, by an anti-farming, anti-mining bureaucracy. 

“If Queensland’s politicians were really concerned about food security they would not have sterilised millions of acres of grazing land under scrub clearing bans, conservation zones, heritage areas, national parks and other anti-farming bans,” Mr Forbes said.

In an effort to hose down Viv’s criticism, the department involved has confirmed them:

A Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) spokesperson said the framework would not apply to subdivision applications already approved, nor to proposed subdivisions in areas already designated for urban development.

“If the land proposed to be subdivided is, in fact, strategic cropping land and the subdivision will permanently alienate the strategic cropping land, the subdivision will generally not be approved,” they said. Developments like feedlots were unlikely to be approved.

David Leyonhjelm from the LDP, has mentioned that one of the problems with the whole issue is that farmers have little personal control over their own properties, nothing to gain, and much to lose in both mining, and CSG. The situation would be very different were farmers to have some ownership rights over the deposits themselves. 

It is no accident that the US has half of all the world’s oil wells, and that its coal seam gas industry is considerably more advanced than ours. A key difference is that landowners have skin in the game – ownership of mineral rights is a primary motivator for exploration and extraction.

For governments, the solution is to create an environment in which a market based approach can emerge. It was government actions preventing such an approach that created the current problem. More government tweaking will not help.

Essentially the heart of the problem here is that ‘public interest’ is allowed to take precedence over private property rights.  Where most landholders would have been happy with legislation allowing them to have a say over access to their properties for this purpose, the government has essentially reduced their rights to carry out standard agricultural pursuits

12 thoughts on “Trampling farmer’s rights to protect farmland from CSG.

  1. The issues involving CSG have been coming a long time. It is the Queensland Government’s quest for cash to deal with their growing deficit, along with an ambivalent, negative view of farmers and their electoral standing (almost all in LNP seats) that drives this. Even legislating “strategic cropping land” is a limitation in itself. It’s worth noting how little land is restricted from access by miners. There is a need for good quality cropping land to be restricted, but, in reality, it needs to be productive farmland, because no matter what, farmland is more important than the extractive industries that would use the land, and cause damage to it, almost forever. Farmland is finite, and the export driven energy needs is not. What is most disappointing in this is that mining companies and farmers and their representative bodies don’t seem to have sat down to negotiate solutions, rather, leaving it to a money hungry Labor Government to come up with more and more regulations, in an already over legislated, over-regulated State. No-one owns more than the surface of their land. There’s long been legislation that allows mining just about anywhere. It is about time that owners of land that they maintain, improve, invest money into capital improvements, and derive income from independent productive pursuits, had their rights respected. In this instance, money will not be the way to resolve miners’ intrusions, although what is paid has to have greater relativity to the effects and value of the mining activities, and disruptions to lifestyles and primary production. There needs to be a fundamental acknowledgement that agriculture is vital to our long term future, but export dollars from mining activities is typically a short term benefit only.

  2. My understanding is our laws with regards to mineral ownership and property owners are pretty much unique in the developed world. As a friend of mine put it: “I’d like to see you try that in Texas!!”

  3. Derek Sheppard, your cause would be helped if you stuck to reality instead of straying off into myths.

    There is a need for good quality cropping land to be restricted

    The difference between good quality and other cropping land is simply water and fertiliser. In WA they grow good crops in sand.

    no matter what, farmland is more important than the extractive industries that would use the land

    Rubbish. Food is in huge surplus and the extractive industries generate far more revenue. Only open cut mines potentially destroy farmland and even then, not that much. Underground mines and CSG have very limited disruptive impact.

    What is most disappointing in this is that mining companies and farmers and their representative bodies don’t seem to have sat down to negotiate solutions

    They do actually. There are hundreds of amicable agreements between farmers and miners.

    What’s needed is greater common interest between the property rights of farmers, who own the surface, and the property rights of miners, who own the minerals. All you are doing is arguing farmers’ rights should defeat miners’ rights.

  4. I’m sorry David, when you learn more about what farming is then you’ll be in a better position to debate the difference between food production and extractive industries and their impacts. You seem to be out of touch with the impacts that CSG has had and is having on people living in rural areas and increasingly, urban areas, the ability to continue farming in cohesive ways, and the environmental impacts. Miners don’t own the minerals, our government does. They have the ability to grant the rights to those minerals or not. Better to let owners of land the rights to those minerals, so at least they can make the decisions rather than governments sucking in the revenue from royalties.

  5. I’m from the country (most of my life) and I want CSG.

    Given how hard it can be for a whole region to offer employment in a drought, I think diversification of the employment base and the aggregate expenditure of the region is good for regional areas.

    We know the suicide rates are higher in the country and a cause of that is economic hardship.

    I have seen a lot of people from the cities, deep greens etc oppose CSG, but very few farmers do so.

  6. As a CONSTITUTIONALIST I often wonder why we have about 87,000 lawyers in Australia and none seem to be capable to properly represent their clients? You may view this is a strong statement from a non-lawyer but then again my blog is giving ample of examples how we lack proper legal representation from the very persons we pay for it. The author refers to “central” and Local” but the question must be asked does the author understand what is constitutionally applicable? Central Government means Federal government and Local Government means State government. Where a Government induces a policy to deny a land holder the proper use of his land then the right of Adverse acquisition should apply where a landholder denied the usage of his FEE SIMPLE land can sue the Government for the loss of enjoyment of the land as desired and any loss of profits, etc.
    Further, we have the States charging State land taxes even so this is unconstitutional since 11 November 1910 when the Commonwealth commenced to have its land tax office. The fact that it abolished land taxes in 1952 doesn’t give the States the legislative powers to change a “uniform” law into a State non “uniform” law as the constitution doesn’t provide for a return to State legislative powers. As like the income tax once federal always federal! Therefore Farmers Federations all over Australia should wake up and understand they are not acting in the interest of their members when they disregard these vital issues. This post cannot be used to set it all out in extensive details and neither is needed as my blog already provide the information and one can download FREE OF CHARGE documents. Just do the search “acquisition” and you will locate all relevant material.

  7. Derek, I own a farm of 1100 acres. I’d be happy if minerals were found on it, or even if they came exploring. They’d fix up tracks and pay generous compensation. I know about farming, extractive industries and rural communities. Even though you imply you know how much I know, I’m not going to speculate as to how much you know about these things.

    But I would be happier if I owned the rights to the minerals on my farm. I think most farmers would feel the same. In fact, that’s what I said in my article that Jim quoted in his post, which you obviously didn’t bother to read, and my comment above, which you obviously haven’t bothered to understand.

    Like I said, you’d be more effective if you stuck to reality.

  8. What is needed is a broad movement to support the rights of owners to do what they like with their own lands, and anything they own. We need to resist all encrochments of all governments everywhere!
    Who else wants to start The Pro-Ownership Resistance Movement!?

  9. You don’t seem to understand, Samwayne. Farmers have property rights to the surface of their farm. Miners have property rights to the minerals beneath the surface. There may be separate property rights in water relating to the land, with a separate owner. And now the government is proposing to introduce a fourth property right in the form of carbon credits.

    This is not about property rights per se, but how to reconcile competing rights.

  10. But farmers should not just have surface rights! All owners SHOULD have all rights to the stuff below the surface! Then there would be no competing rights!

  11. I believe the destruction of Australia’s agricultural land is a direct attack upon the Australian people and part of the elite’s agenda to depopulate the world population by 90%. Don’t be fooled the government are traitors to the people and what they are doing is not for financial reasons, it is way more malicious than that. These criminals altered the Queensland constitution in 2001 under the Beatty Labor government when they tabled the constitution as a modernisation, but in fact it was altered without a referendum, which is illegal and considered treason. This is how they have managed to remove the farmer’s rights. Our government officials are part of an international crime syndicate that is responsible for all the world’s woes and their allegiance is not with the Australian people. The police have all unknowingly sworn allegiance to the Queen, which is a foreign power, and this is treason under our constitution. Australia has not been a colony of England since the end of WWI when we signed the Treaty of Versailles. The police are the elites slave keepers who help them rob from the poor to give to the rich, just like in ye old England. In 1975 the government in Australia removed the common law courts and replaced them with ‘corporate’ courts, which are the same courts that served in the Dark Ages in England. These courts were referred to as the ‘Starchamber of Satan’ because of their unChristian practises. The elite are deliberately orchestrating the financial crisis to remove all wealth from the economy so they can impoverish the masses and return us to Feudalism. In order to accomplish this though they have to depopulate the earth because we outnumber them by so many, and this is why they are removing Australia’s sustainability. Wake up folks before it is too late. We need to protect our water and our food production at all costs.

  12. Farmers own all of their land and what is under it. Our government have changed these laws illegally because they are criminals. The right to possess and own your land goes back to common law and natural law, which precedes all the statutes and acts that our government are currently passing. The Australian government’s statutes and acts are only applicable to government employees and corporations, not to sovereigns, which is what each flesh and blood person is. The legal system is a sham, and a means by which the elite control the people. This is why they change the laws at their every whim. A legal system that does not represent the best interests of the people is not justice, it is simply a mechanism by which the rich control those who are too ignorant to know better.

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