The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA), WAFarmers, Pastoralists and Graziers Association of Western Australia and vegetablesWA have released the Farming Land Access Agreement Template that is set to help out with the development of onshore gas without affecting agricultural productivity in Western Australia.
“This agreement protects the rights and interests of land owners while also providing oil and gas companies with the certainty they need to negotiate land access in a timely and efficient way. I am confident it will provide a strong foundation for constructive and mutually-beneficial relationships between farmers and petroleum operators and I commend all of the parties involved in its development,” said former WA Deputy Premier and Nationals Leader Hendy Cowan who chaired the joint committee that developed the agreement.
“The potential for our industry to provide jobs and investment in regional WA can mean little to individual farmers if they feel their own interests have been ignored or neglected. This agreement recognises that establishing and maintaining good relationships with landholders is absolutely vital,” said APPEA Chief Operating Officer Western Region Stedman Ellis.
According to PGA President Tony Seabrook, the agreement is a positive step in protecting the rights of landholders in Western Australia.
“This agreement is about setting out guiding principles that will ensure landholders are treated fairly in access arrangements; it is not about granting farmers a right of veto over whether they allowed oil and gas companies onto their land or about how much compensation will be paid. This agreement shows that it is possible for industry and landholders to work together to ensure a positive outcome for all parties,” Mr Seabrook said.
“When members are faced with the prospect of exploration for gas and petroleum on their properties this agreement will act as a checklist to ensure they’ve thought of everything that could be an issue,” added WAFarmers President Dale Park.
Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion welcomed the release of the Farming Land Access Agreement Template and said that the agreement will ensure that land access arrangements can now be negotiated in a fair and equitable manner.
“The agreement will assist the development of the onshore gas industry, which with estimated shale reserves of over 288 trillion cubic feet, is vital for the State’s economic growth and energy security,” he said.
“I congratulate the work done by the various agricultural and petroleum organisations over the past two years in developing the agreement.”