The Northern Rivers Regional Organisation of Councils (NOROC) has been advised that its members’ opposition to coal-seam gas may be more than symbolic, according to legal advice the organisation has received.
NOROC commissioned the advice from Sydney law firm Marylou Potts earlier this year after some member councils passed resolutions against CSG mining on council land. This week it decided to release the advice to the public.
But the advice has surprised some of the councils themselves, who it appears may have rights to prevent miners using council-owned roads.
It says a council can refuse a coal-seam gas company access under provisions of the state Petroleum (Onshore) Act and the Roads Act.
The legal reasoning, which hinges on the use of the term ‘improvements’ to describe the roads, would not apply if the project had been declared ‘state significant’.