CSG Webinar - CSG and Biosecurity: Protecting your property

AgForce Projects CSG Project is dedicated to providing free and easily accessible information to landholders across Queensland about the CSG industry and developments regarding legislation and regulation.

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The CSG industry is one of many industries now operating in rural Queensland that landholders should consider when managing farm biosecurity.

Landholders should also consider:

  • Power/utility companies;
  • Stock routes and inspectors;
  • Main and local roads and maintenance crews;
  • Prospecting or fossicking/other resource industries; and
  • Any other access by external vehicles or equipment that may pose a risk to farm biosecurity.
Landholders and those working with landholders are reminded that before a CSG or resource company can undertake any advanced activities on property (i.e. drilling wells, clearing tracks and roads, intensive seismic activities) they must negotiate a land access agreement between the landholder and the company, known as a conduct and compensation agreement (CCA).

This CCA covers both conduct (i.e. how activities are to be carried out, where and when and what property conduct provisions to be in place) and compensation (payment for impacts from resource activities). It is in these CCAs that landholders need to work with their professional advisors and their resource company representatives to include appropriate biosecurity provisions covering resource activities.

Biosecurity considerations for landholders to review may include:

  • Conducting a weed baseline assessment prior to property access being granted. Landholders should take into account the time of this inspection/baseline in relation to seasonal conditions and growth periods to make sure that the baseline truly reflects current weed status or burden. For example, if a groundwater bore assessment was conducted during drought times the assessment may show bore conditions or bore capacity being less than it actually may be, the same exists for weeds;
  • A baseline assessment is an initial condition report and therefore landholders are encouraged to negotiate in their CCAs that ongoing monitoring of any weed spread/outbreak, review effectiveness of wash-downs/preventative measures and control of any outbreak areas are also included;
  • Baseline assessments should not only look at CSG activity areas (well sites, roads, pipeline areas, laydown areas etc.) but also provide the overall property weed status to ensure that any access to property areas outside CSG activities (mistake or otherwise) are also included to show pre activity condition;
  • Having a property map is a valuable tool for landholders negotiating agreements and managing CSG activities moving forward. Apart from identify property infrastructure, seasonal activities (harvest, planting or sensitive areas – i.e. calving paddocks), a property map should also include weed risk areas (such as high risk entry points, public road verges/high risk areas, flood/overland flow settlement areas), identify weed check points or wash-down areas and locate weed monitoring areas or any established weed areas.
Landholders have for many years been proactively managing weeds and biosecurity risks on property but the introduction of CSG to their property now acts as a trigger to document these existing and future strategies and activities. By documenting a property biosecurity plan it allows for the responsible resource company to understand the proactive steps being taken by the landholder and to make sure that their resource activities do not compromise this work or risk farm biosecurity. Incorporating your biosecurity baseline assessment into your biosecurity plan and property map is an ideal process to address this.

It is important that landholders and the company establish in the CCA the process to resolve any weed outbreaks, assign responsibility and process for control as well as detail compliance provisions for any breaches of weed management procedures or property conduct provisions.

What should the company provide, and what should the company do?

Under the Land Access Code (2010), resource companies and their contractors have an obligation to avoid and mitigate the spread of declared pests or weeds. The code requires companies to wash-down equipment and vehicles where the likelihood of doing so would reduce the risk of weed spread. Company representatives are also required to provide a copy of wash-down certificates when requested by the landholder. Resource companies must also take similar steps to avoid spreading weeds when leaving a property. A copy of the LAC can be found here.

Companies should also take the time in CCA negotiations to explain to landholders their internal weed management procedures and protocols. During this process the landholder should request that they be shown procedure documents demonstrating how the company intends to comply with LAC requirements, CCA provisions and review these weed management plans against the landholder's property biosecurity plan and compare the adequacy to reduce the risk of weed spread or disturbance.

Landholders may also wish to review the wash-down procedure and certificate template the company has in place.

Particular items to include may be:
  • Kilometre (km) odometer reading of the vehicle;
  • Date of the wash-down;
  • Area the vehicle has travelled since wash-down;
  • Wash-down process (wet wash vs dry blow/shake down);
  • Who washed and certified;
  • Clearly agree beforehand in the CCA what is the process for the landholder to review vehicles, equipment or paperwork and what happens if they do not meet requirements, i.e. entry prohibited, re-washed and inspected.
The company representative should provide the landholder with a map of the proposed activities; including the location of proposed activities and disturbance areas, property access points and any equipment/vehicle/soil storage areas. This information should be compared to the landholders property map to identify any weed risk areas, areas of potential conflict and establish monitoring sites/areas.

Helpful Links

Farm Biosecurity: 
AgForce Projects CSG Team - contact them here.
Livestock Biosecurity Network (LBN) - http://www.lbn.org.au/ 
Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries- https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/biosecurity

Issues and Complaints:
CSG Compliance Unit (07) 4529 1500 or email - csg.enquiries@dnrm.qld.gov.au 

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