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Byron Shire
May 15, 2021

Can’t sell, can’t insure in a gasfield

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A detailed report by the NSW valuer-general suggests that a mature coal seam gas (CSG) industry may reduce property values.

And a northern rivers property owner says her insurance company has warned her policy would be cancelled if the CSG industry came onto her property.

Greens NSW spokesperson on mining Jeremy Buckingham expressed alarm at the report, commissioned the valuer-general in 2013 to investigate if the CSG industry is having a material impact on land values in NSW.

Mr Buckingham also said the letter to Woodenbong landowner Marilyn Scott was evidence of a real risk that property values would be devastated by CSG.

He said the valuer-general’s report found that as the industry is in its infancy in NSW, there are not enough data to make an accurate assessment of the impact of coal seam gas on property values in NSW specifically.

Mr Buckingham said it also found there was anecdotal evidence that indicates that in some parts of NSW ‘negative perceptions of CSG [have] led to a reduction in the number of potential purchasers and an increase in the time taken to sell properties’.

He said that the report said there were studies in America that found that a net reduction in property values of up to 22 per cent had occurred on properties with a gas well located on them

‘Overseas experience clearly shows that a mature unconventional gas industry will have a negative impact on land valuation,’ Mr Buckingham said.

‘Currently there is a perception issue that is affecting land prices, but in the future we can expect to see further reductions as the inevitable environmental damage and legacy of ageing infrastructure become apparent.

‘Coal seam gas production will see the disruption of other land-use activities such as farming and tourism and this will contribute to further property price falls.

‘Landholders are starting to ask themselves if the short-term cash per well offered by the industry is worth the long-term write-down in their asset values.

‘It is unacceptable that farmers and communities should be slugged with a reduction in their land values to support the profits of multinational gas companies.’

Woodenbong local Ms Scott told media her insurance company wrote to her recently to say that if CSG came onto her property she had to notify them within seven days ‘and my insurance policy will be cancelled’.

The policy was taken out with one of Australia’s largest banks, the NAB, and underwritten by global insurer Allianz.

Lock the Tweed spokesperson Michael McNamara told Echonetdaily that the growing evidence that CSG posed such a risk to property values came as no surprise but was a real worry to all northern rivers landowners.

‘This has happened in the USA and I have been waiting for it to raise its head here,’ Mr McNamara said.

Unable to sell

Meanwhile a man who bought a tree-change property just years before the industrialisation of the Tara region of southeast Queensland told local media this morning he is contemplating walking off the property he is unable to sell.

‘If I have to, I’ll just pack up and walk out,’  Tara landholder Ian Jenkins, told ABC North Coast this morning. ‘My entire life’s investment is down the mine.’

He is visiting the region to get away from the gasfields surrounding his home, and to warn north-coast locals not to be lured into supporting the industry, which he says is destroying his health.

Mr Jenkins said since the establishment of the gasfields he has been suffering from an array of symptoms that are baffling doctors, including leg pains, which he says go away whenever he leaves the area around his home for more than a week.

‘If they put a thousand wells in here, you guys are gone,’ he said

He added that his property had been on the market for four years, during which time he had only had two people come to look at it.

Mr Jenkins said even the gas companies haven’t offered to buy him out.

‘I dropped the price $100,000 two months ago – and still no interest. Nobody wants to live in the gas.’


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  1. In the USA they trash ya land then buy it off you for niks.. once the gas is gone the gas company superficially rehabilitates the land and sells it for a profit… win/win for the gas co, lose/lose for the farmer

  2. Casino has been promised 24 hour policing as soon as finances become available. We are still waiting and relying on police coming from Lismore when crime happens “out of hours.” My question is where are the funds for this massive and costly operation against the local community, who politicians won’t listen to. coming from. Will taxpayers have to pay each time Metgasco wants to put in a well? They ate putting in thousands! The ordinary people, mums, dads, grandparents, farmers at Bently will be there for every well, we have to be as we will be here in twenty or so years when Metgasco or the bigger company they sell out to leave taking their profits and leaving their toxic mess. Democracy it seems is dead. The good news is wars are a thing of the past. Why fight when all that is needed is a few donations to major political parties, making good friends with politicians and giving fake Christmas trees to the locals to compensate for their loss of clean air, water, livelihoods and beautiful surroundings allows you to legally take what you want against their wishes.


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