Farmers drag gas worries to court
A Queensland farming family is in a legal bid for compensation for damage from coal seam gas mining.
Farmers Narelle and Allan Nothdurft entered an agreement with the Queensland Gas Company (QGC) to drill wells on their property near Chinchilla on the Western Downs in 2006.
“We were offered a lot of water and some gravel roads around the property. It was all good at the start,” Mr Nothdurft told reporters this week.
But, he says, the wells on and around their property soon started creating issues of noise and venting gas.
The family claims they have been sick ever since.
“The children have headaches, they get fast onset migraine headaches. They're missing a lot of school because they get headaches at the drop of a hat,” he said.
The Nothdurft family is now challenging QGC for compensation in the Land Court, hoping to win enough money to move away.
Their lawyer, George Houen, says it will see compensation rules in Queensland's Petroleum and Gas Act tested in court for the first time.
“They were signatories to the agreement on the basis the environmental authority conditions would be complied with. And they haven't been,” Mr Houen said.
QGC has issued a statement saying; “evidence from leading expert bodies confirms that properly regulated, unconventional gas developments do not threaten the environment or public health”.
The company claims to have been operating within set noise levels, but has not been able to access to the Nothdurft property to install noise suppression equipment.
QGC has pledged to comply with any Land Court orders.
The next hearings are set for September.