A framework has been developed to help landholders negotiate with gas companies
A framework has been developed to help landholders negotiate with gas companies Brendan Bufi

Pricing watchdog creates spreadsheet for CSG agreements

A REPORT with calculated compensation levels for landholders dealing with coal seam gas companies has drawn tentative support from anti-CSG group Lock the Gate.

The State Government asked the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal to develop a framework setting benchmark rates to support landholders negotiating land access and compensation agreements with gas companies.

The initiative was part of the NSW Gas Plan.

Lock the Gate's George Woods said the recommendation to use the pricing watchdog's spreadsheet model when negotiating land access agreements would help landholders.

But she said, as IPART had heard while seeking feedback, compensation was a little pre-emptive.

Ms Woods said Resources Minister Anthony Roberts first needed to implement all of the NSW Chief Scientist's recommendations.

NSW Farmers welcomed the spreadsheet, telling the ABC the information for the "going rate" was almost impossible for them to comment on.

Another of IPART's seven recommendations was that the NSW Government and gas industry fund workshops for landholders to receive independent information, ask questions and share experiences with other landholders.

While Ms Woods said workshops and public discussion would genuinely help, landholders also valued their families and land.

"People don't just want money, they want the things they value to be protected," she said.

IPART also recommended gas companies provide payments and/or in-kind benefits to landholders to share the benefits of gas development.

The watchdog said neighbours should not be left out, suggesting compensation should be awarded if the impacts went beyond the reasonable levels dictated by licences and approvals.

The government will consider the recommendations.

- APN NEWSDESK



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