Victorian farmers should be able to veto gas exploration on their land, says the Victorian Farmers Federation, arguing the importance of a "level playing field" between the farming and mining industries.
Gerald Leach, chairman of the VFF's land management committee spoke at a Deakin University coal seam gas forum yesterday and said at the moment farmers can object to gas exploration mining licences, but have no power to actually stop it, weeklytimesnow.com.au reports.
"At the moment landholders do have the right to object to exploration mining licences but it's not a level playing field," he said.
"VCAT (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal) determines the conditions of entry not whether or not the entry can occur, that is something landowners cannot stop."
Leach said farmers should have the right to veto use of their land under the Mining Act.
Shadow agriculture and resources minister John Lenders said if elected in November next year a Labor government would conduct an inquiry into whether or not a coal seam gas industry should proceed in Victoria.
Earlier this year, the NSW state government approved a two kilometre exclusion zone for new coal seam gas exploration and production activities around residential areas, but NSW Farmers said more can be done, arguing that mining of other coals and minerals should be including in the exclusions – not just coal seam gas mining.