Caroona farmers have had a win but not everyone is happy

Social, legal and health issues related to air and water toxic pollution in Australia.

Caroona farmers have had a win but not everyone is happy

Postby HVPA_research » Thu Mar 11, 2010 4:30 pm

WATERSHED DECISION TO HOLD MINERS MORE ACCOUNTABLE.
In a landmark judgment, thewho chal NSW Supreme Court today found in favor of two Liverpool
Plains farmers who challenged the right of BHP Billiton to enter their farms to explore for
coal.
The decision has broad implications for all mining companies seeking access to private land
in NSW to conduct exploration and exposes serious deficiencies in the way the current
regime deals with environmental protection.
Supreme Court Justice Schmidt ruled that the Chief Mining Warden had erred in a number
of ways when, last May, he granted BHP Billiton ‘access arrangements’ to explore for coal
on the properties of the Brown and Alcorn families at Caroona.


CCAG spokesman Tim Duddy said: “This is a watershed decision for NSW which will force
mining companies to be properly accountable to the environment in a way they’ve never
been required to before.”
“It confirms what this community has said from the outset, that is, landholders have been
denied fairness and justice in the way ‘access agreements’ have been imposed on them by
the old Mining Warden’s Court.”
“We welcome this decision and look forward to the NSW Government now reviewing all of
the processes governing mining and exploration in this State to ensure the environment
and the rights of landholders are no longer treated as less important,” Mr Duddy said.


More details may be obtained from the Caroona Coal Action Group website. Copy of the original Supreme Court decision may be downloaded here.

Caroona farmers have had a win but not everyone is happy Quote from the ABC report:

Last week, the court found the miner's arrangements to explore for coal on land owned by two farming families had been been improperly negotiated. Part of the court's reasoning was that BHP should have notified the banks, which owned the land, when it negotiated the agreements.


However, NSW Minerals Council, which represents the exploration companies, is not happy about this decision because it upset the cozy relationship the explorers enjoy with the government authorities. Here is a copy of their statement.

10 March 2010 Page 1 Ref: 04/10
Supreme Court decision to effectively stop exploration
and make it impossible to do business in NSW

NSW Minerals Council CEO Dr Nikki Williams today said Friday’s Supreme Court decision on land access
agreements would effectively stop exploration and make it impossible to do business in NSW.
“The decision of the Supreme Court in the Brown/Alcorn & Ancor v Coal Mines Australia Pty Ltd case will
have an extraordinary impact on business activity in NSW,” Dr Williams said.
“This is not a victory for landowner property rights as some are claiming. This decision will not achieve
better environmental outcomes. It will not improve the interaction of exploration activity with agricultural
land. What we will see is a complicated, convoluted bureaucratic nightmare that will make it impossible to
do business in NSW.
“The effects of this decision will set off a chain reaction reaching far beyond the mining industry. No one
will be immune.
“Red tape will wrap itself around every bank, building society, water supplier, gas network supplier,
electricity distributer and telecommunications provider. Each of these entities will need to establish a new
layer of administration, just so they can fulfil their obligation to comply with the judgement.
“Exploration, which is the essential pipeline to mining projects, will effectively cease. That means the
industry’s growth will be stunted with all that implies for declining State revenues. Last year the royalties
alone from these projects halved the State Budget deficit. The minerals industry also directly employs
more than 60,000 people in regional NSW.
“The problems are practical. For example, one small mining project in NSW is currently negotiating more
than 60 access agreements – that’s 60 land holders multiplied by all the banks and any party that has a
financial interest in the property, as well as each of the utility companies that have easements for access
to infrastructure. So instead of negotiating with 60 parties, we’re now talking about hundreds of
negotiations for a single project.
“The NSW Government, the Opposition and businesses should be very worried. They need to take action
now to avert this job destroying, wealth destroying minefield.”
Contact:
Scott Keenan
02 9274 1413
0438 280 073
http://www.nswmin.com.au
http://www.twitter.com/nswmc

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