>> What is the process for negotiation?
The LAC requires resource companies to negotiate a Conduct and Compensation Agreement (CCA) with a landholder before conducting any advanced activities on a property. The Queensland Government has now set out mandatory minimum standards and timeframes to be followed through the negotiation of CCAs. Further tools to be used in understanding these new laws and the negotiation process can be found in the Guide to Queensland’s New Land Access Laws November 2010, and Tips For Landholders Negotiating Agreements With Resource Companies November 2010.
>> What is a Conduct and Compensation Agreement?
A CCA is a legal contract between the landholder and the resource company. This agreement not only sets down the amount of compensation to be paid for CSG activities, it also sets specific conduct requirements and how and where CSG activities are carried out. This agreement attaches to your land, so if you sell your property and the CCA is current, it applies to the new owner for the term specified in the agreement. This is why you must seek professional advice and consider all aspects and impacts of CSG activities on your business and family.
>> How do I work out fair compensation for CSG activities on my property?
Under current legislation CSG companies are required to compensate landholders for any
‘compensatable effects’ on their property and business. Compensatable effects can be,
for example, the amount of land lost to CSG infrastructure (i.e. dams, wells, roads etc.). To
identify impacts to your property, you need to consider your property plan including future
developments and how CSG may impact on these plans. Working out ‘compensatable effects’ can be difficult to determine, so you need to work with a qualified solicitor to identify and define impacts. To ensure you have received fair compensation you need to seek professional advice, such as legal, property valuation and accounting.
>> Will I be able to review my CCA further down the track?
When you are negotiating your CCA, it is recommended that the agreements are for a set level of production (i.e. three wells, one dam) and also for a set period of time, for example to be reviewed every two years or when conditions change. By doing this it allows you to not only review the agreement with regards to conduct, but also compensation. As with any stage of these agreements you need to seek professional advice.
>> What information should I prepare for discussions with CSG companies?
No two properties are the same and as such each property requires different approaches.
However, it is recommended that having a property plan and map is vital when negotiating
with resource companies. A great place to start is with a property map marking out specific
areas and infrastructure (dams, roads, bores, cropping areas, improved pasture areas and areas of concern). Having a comprehensive property map prepared before meeting with a resource company may help to identify areas where CSG activities should be excluded and why. Having a property plan is important to help mitigate clashes with resource companies, by identifying specific conduct, i.e. areas that are back burnt or aerial spraying or specific weeds you have eradicated. Future plans are also important to make resource companies aware of.
Property computer mapping: AgForce Projects Landholder CSG information sessions outline basic tips on property planning, mapping and recording on-property changes. All landholders who attend a session will receive free digital property data, an easy-to-use digital property map that provides basic drawing functions, the ability to measure areas and distance and view multi-coordinate systems. AgForce Projects also delivers property computer mapping workshops that are free and open to all Queensland landholders.
For more information see our property computer mapping workshops.
>> Will the gas company pay my legal costs?
Under the current legislative framework resource companies are required to reimburse you
for all necessary and reasonable legal, accounting and valuation professional costs incurred in negotiating a CCA. It is recommended that you update the resource company of your legal fees payable during the course of your negotiations to ensure these costs incurred will be covered, rather than only paying a set amount.
The CSG Project is delivered by AgForce Projects with the support of the Queensland Government, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, Queensland Resources Council and the GasFields Commission Queensland.