Lock the Gate encourages landholders to ‘lock the gate’ to coal seam gas and mining companies as a form of non-cooperation. The law is strongly in favour of coal seam gas and mining companies but locking the gate to them is an effective means of preventing access.
Resources are owned by the Crown, not the property owner. The Crown provides gas companies access to these resources and gives landholders only a minor right to ‘negotiate’ an access agreement and compensation deal with those companies.
Once the state government has granted a resource company a licence to explore or produce, it must identify sites within its licence area where it will conduct its activities. If the activities are proposed on private land, the resource company will seek to negotiate an access arrangement with the landholder and may offer compensation as part of negotiations.
If a landholder does not negotiate an agreement, then the company can take the matter to arbitration where land access and be granted to the resource company – in NSW this occurs in the Land and Environment Court and in Queensland it is the Land Court. Some coal seam gas and mining companies have indicated that they are not prepared to force access in this way and it is untenable for them to take every landholder who locks their gate to court.
If the site is on government land (such as the project in the Pilliga State Forest in north-west NSW) an access agreement must be negotiated between the resource company and the state government.
Locking the Gate is a form of peaceful non-cooperation that shows companies and the government that landholders are determined to protect their land, water and health from inappropriate mining.
- Environmental Defenders Office
- NSW EDO Fact sheet on coal seam gas legislative framework
- QLD EDO coal seam gas information
- NSW landholder rights under the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991
- QLD Government’s land access policy framework