Our energy law team are experts in representing landholders in negotiations with coal seam gas (CSG) companies. We have the experience and know-how to go head to head with the big guys and get you the result you need for you and your family.
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Common questions about Coal Seam Gas Legal Services
You may need a lawyer if:
- You received a notice from a CSG company stating that it plans to enter your property and carry out some initial tests.
- You received a notice that additional testing will be carried out on your land, once the initial tests are completed. This may mean the CSG company wants to perform seismic testing or, it may seek to install a well on the land to do further exploration.
- You received a letter from a CSG company stating that it intends to open negotiations with you to compensate you for your land, as it intends to open a gas field on it. In legal terms, this is called a Notice of Intention to Negotiate a Conduct and Compensation Agreement.
If a CSG company has permission to carry out activities on your land, you will need to enter into an agreement. This is called a Conduct and Compensation Agreement (CCA). You have a legal right to know what activities any CSG company intends to do on your land. You need to be compensated for those activities. In some cases, you have the right to prevent or reduce the activities a company plans to perform.
In this situation, the CSG company may state that it has a “standard” Access Agreement for you to sign. Please note - There’s no such thing as a “standard” agreement. The Government “standard” agreement is only a template. It’s expected that this template will be adapted to meet the individual circumstances of each landholder. This means that no two agreements (CCA) can be the same, simply because no two properties are the same.
You need to know what should be included in your agreement based on the unique features of your land. Furthermore, you need to be compensated accordingly. This is why you need a lawyer who understands the CSG industry. Our energy law team will help you to understand what should be included in the agreement and how you will be compensated. Our team has negotiated over 500 contracts for landowners and occupiers. The contracts resulted in around $300 million paid in compensation.
Our experience means that we understand landowners, the things that make properties unique and what can happen when a CSG company begins activities on your land.
Let us use our experience and knowledge to ensure you are properly compensated for any CSG activities that take place on your land.
Without a CCA, a CSG company cannot enter your land and undertake ‘advanced’ activities unless the matter has been referred to Court.
The CCA will also state how those activities are to be undertaken so the impact to your business, your land use, your family and your lifestyle, is minimised. In fact, the terms of the agreement are often more important than the amount of compensation you receive.
The inclusions in your agreement will depend on the types of activities you conduct on your land. Some common issues that should be considered include:
- Access periods – times when it’s reasonable for the company to carry out activities on your land;
- Access points, roads and tracks – restrictions on where the CSG company can go on your land and, what tracks it can use;
- Your home and other buildings – how close to your home and farm buildings activities can be performed;
- Livestock and property – conditions for conduct around livestock and the manner and timeframe for repairing any damage caused to your property;
- Cropping – traffic damage to cropping activities e.g. water capture efficiency and erosion;
- Camps – location and management plan of any camps that the resource company intends to establish on your land;
- Infrastructure & equipment – conditions relating to any items the CSG company brings on to your land;
- Compensation – payments to you for the range of activities to be performed on your land;
- Dispute resolution – the manner of resolving any dispute arising in connection with the agreement.
It’s important to engage a lawyer as early as possible in the negotiation process to help draft the CCA. This will safeguard your rights if there is a dispute with the company down the track.
Some of these factors may also contribute to the compensation you receive:
- Deprivation or possession of land surface;
- Reduction in land value;
- Severance of land from other parts of the property owned by the landholder;
- Reduction in land use, including reduced use that could be made through any improvements to it;
- Any cost, damage, or loss arising from activities carried out under the land surface;
- Damages caused to the landholder as a consequence of matters mentioned above.
Any compensation you receive may also effect your taxation, social security, estate planning and other matters. So it’s vital you talk to experienced lawyers who understand the bigger picture.
The legal costs will be determined by the amount of work required to prepare your agreement and whether you will require further advice regarding future CSG activities on your property. We’ll be happy to go through this in more detail when we sit down with you.
- Negotiation of the extent of activity to be undertaken on your land;
- Land Court Applications;
- Compliance issues;
- Seismic Agreements;
- Water and gravel Contracts;
- Appeals and submissions;
- Make Good Agreements;
- Briefing Valuers, Accountants and Experts;
- Writing letters on your behalf as well as examining, preparing and settling documents.
Peter Shannon is Special Counsel with Shine Lawyers and heads up our energy law team. As part-owner of a farm situated near Kupunn to the west of Dalby, he has been directly affected by coal seam gas issues.
Peter’s advised hundreds of landholders in relation to coal seam gas and has extensive experience in negotiating Conduct and Compensation Agreements, Options and Easements. He has also been extensively involved in the community lobbying for the rights of landholders and was instrumental in the creation of the Basin Sustainability Alliance.
Glen Martin is a solicitor with over 15 years’ experience acting for rural clients. He has a rural background and extensive property valuation knowledge. Glen has been involved in educating the rural community about their rights relating to energy and resource issues and has acted for a number of clients in CSG related matters.
Joshua Aylward is Special Counsel with over nine years’ experience acting for landholders in both Queensland and New South Wales. He has extensive experience in dealing with energy companies and has represented landholders in negotiations for many years. He has strong rural ties and is aware of the legal needs of country clients and works with them to get the outcome they need.
CSG top tips and useful information
Why you should choose Shine Lawyers to handle your csg claim
Hear from some of our clients
History of Shine Lawyers
The Shine Lawyers team
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