'Minor' changes to CSG bill could affect NSW farmers

HIDDEN loopholes in a proposed New South Wales coal seam gas bill, which could allow "environmental assessors" on to land without owner permission, have been condemned by the Farmers' Association.

The Petroleum Onshore Amendment Bill, which passed throw the Lower House this month and will be up for debate in the Upper House next week, was given a brief summary of the changes earlier this year but, according to President Fiona Simpson, key details were left out.

After reviewing the legislation in full on Wednesday, Ms Simpson said the changes, which the State Government had led her to believe were "minor in nature", could have a substantial impact on the state's farmers.

She said government's failure to provide a full draft of the legislation earlier may have been an oversight but, in any event, farmers were "grossly overlooked".

Her major concern surrounds area of the bill which allows permits for "environmental assessment" and other activity and the entering of private land without explicitly required landholders' permissions.

Ms Simpson said the activities that fell under "environmental assessment" had not been made clear and that anything that lessened the rights of landholders while they were already feeling "hugely disempowered' was unacceptable.

Topics:  bill coal seam gas environment new south wales

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