More and more landowners are speaking out about difficulties dealing with CSG companies!
CSG Challenge heads to Supreme court.
Farmers sound the warning as CSG frustration builds!
In the weeks leading to his decision to padlock his gate, Mr Bahnisch had discovered several heifers choking on plastic strips, which he had to remove from the animals’ throats.
The plastic had been strapped to the gas pipe section ends to prevent livestock and other animals wandering into them.
Mr Bahnisch had complained about the difficulty of mustering cattle with pipeline sections laying across the ground in wide enough distances to enable the cattle to move freely in and out but not for motorbikes.
Weeks earlier he had complained when he found unburied toilet paper and faeces left by subcontractor workers in one of his paddocks.
There were seven gates at his property used by contractors being repeatedly left wide open or not shut properly as some days saw up to 50 mining company vehicles entering and leaving his property.
He had found some of his cattle cut off from access to water, isolated between two shut gates used by the workers.
Mr Bahnisch said he first attempted a conciliatory approach in dealing with the problem.
He moved his impacted herd away from the work site to enable the subcontractors to leave the gates permanently open and he picked up the scattered plastic tape and strips and left them in a wheelbarrow at one of the fences so as to be collected by the workers.
However, he said he became increasingly frustrated when he was told swiftly by MCJV to return his cattle to the area surrounding the work site because the company had a strict policy that it would not interfere with the landholder’s property management practices and it wanted to fulfil its promise.
He then decided to tie a chain around his gate and let the company experience the frustration he was feeling.
But while farmers across the state debate whether to take similar action and lock their gates to resource development, the miners at Mr Bahnisch’s property gave short shrift to his protest.
The next day MCJV workers simply cut open the chain and then confiscated the lock, before continuing the short drive to their work site on the Bahnisch farmland.
He was warned not to lock his gate again.
Mr Bahnisch said he is not a man prone to civil disobedience but, like several property owners in the region who spoke to Queensland Country Life, he is dismayed at the broken promises from QGC, the bad behaviour of the contract workers and the huge delays in the pipeline construction schedule.
QGC is constructing a 540km LNG pipeline which will link the Western Downs gas fields with the Gladstone-Curtis Island plant.
While this overall project is expected to be completed by the end of next year, there have been long delays in the project stages currently winding between Miles and Wandoan.
Local landholders had initially been told the feeder line construction across their properties would take three months when the process began in September, however according to a letter sent out by the company this month, the project is now expected to take at least 12 months.
About 10 landholders impacted by the pipeline met with senior QGC executives on February 21 to raise their concerns.
A fortnight later, QGC mailed a letter to attendees acknowledging the problems and committing to improving communication, day to day site management and soil and weed management.
The company also paid an additional $3000 compensation for every kilometre of pipeline cutting through each property.
A few kilometres south of the Bahnisch family, Paul Erbacher, Dorset, has seen his water supply which connects to his stock troughs dismantled by MCJV without the correct joiners to return it to functioning.
He has also caught MCJV workers entering his property without completing the agreed and required weed and seed wash down procedure on two separate occasions during the past six months and demanded the company provide written acknowledgement of its mistake.
In its submission to the yet to be released State Government Land Access Review, the Queensland Resource Council complained that mining companies were being expected to go to “extreme lengths” in order to “satisfy land holders requests,” including full certified weed wash downs when moving any vehicle between paddocks on the same property, including crews vehicles transiting on a daily basis.
Mr Erbacher said with such long delays on the construction, he is concerned about the safety of his livestock when the deep trenches are eventually dug to rest the pipeline, which cuts through three of his fattening paddocks.
He said the difficulties faced by landholders across the Wandoan pipeline area is a warning to other landholders across Queensland who will soon be dealing with pipeline construction in their regions.
“These companies are abusing country hospitality and they are using it to backdoor so many people,” he said.
“If I could have my time again I would have demanded they place a definite construction timeframe on the contract with penalties if they don’t meet it.”
In a statement to Queensland Country Life, QGC said it provides landholders with indicative time frames for construction activities.
The company said these time frames are subject to normal variables that can affect any construction activity, such as availability of crews and machinery and weather.
QGC said rain had disrupted construction with MCJV deciding to temporarily suspend large-scale construction earlier this year though this suspension had no material impact on the overall construction schedule.