A green, tranquil valley ...
.....or a gas field wasteland
Sydney Gas Contract in Plain English
A copy of an unsigned Access Agreement was recently obtained by HVPA from a local resident who received it from Sydney Gas. Our attempts to obtain a copy direct from Sydney Gas direct have fallen on deaf ears. The Agreement itself is written in legal terms, however here is a "plain English" version of some of the terms, and they can't be changed once you've signed, it's scary:
.You agree to any Planning Approvals, applications for Petroleum Exploration Licences and each application for the opening of roads, whatever might be in them (Cl 6.1);
. You consent to giving away certain legal protections, and you can't change your mind. This will let Sydney Gas drill their wells basically wherever they like on your land, except within 200 metres of your house. The protections of no drilling within 50 metres of your gardens, vineyards, orchards, dams, improvements etc., is given away (Cl 6.2);
. Sydney Gas will use your internal roads for their machinery, etc., to access their work site, and use your roads to access works sites which may exist on your neighbours property. You can't stop them. (Cl 7);
. Sydney Gas can do anything on the land associated with their exploration, including for example building roads, mudponds, gas gathering lines, pits and maybe even erecting temporary buildings and toilet blocks (Cl 2 & Sched.).
. Sydney Gas must only "minimise" the contamination or pollution of any stream, or watercourse with fuel, oil, grease or other "potential pollutants" (Cl 7.2.6);
. You may be responsible for "loss, damage or destruction" of the property and machinery of Sydney Gas if you have been negligent on your own property (Cl 7.5);
. You can't lease your land to anyone else without them signing the same Agreement with Sydney Gas (Cl 11);
. You can't make a claim against Sydney Gas for any damages, costs, etc., you may suffer as a result of the works of Sydney Gas on your property (Cl 14);
. You can't mortgage your property without the Mortgagee lending you the money first agreeing to the mortgage being subject to the Sydney Gas agreement (Cl 18);
. If you currently have a mortgage, you must ask your current mortgagee to agree to signing the Sydney Gas Agreement (Cl 18);
. If you want to sell your land, YOU CAN'T, without the purchaser agreeing to enter into the same Sydney Gas Agreement (Cl 19);
. You give Sydney Gas an "equitable interest" in your land. This means that they have a right to carry out the works on the land. Sydney Gas can protect this by putting a Caveat on your land title deeds (Cl 29);
. For all this you are paid $50 per week. This figure does not ever increase, it is not indexed (Cl 10); This is a simple overview of the Sydney Gas Access and Compensation Agreement. It'd be hard to imagine anyone wanting to buy your place when they've got to sign up to this!
If you are asked to sign one by Sydney Gas, please seek legal advice. FREE LEGAL ADVICE will be arranged for you, if you like, with HB GAG referring you to a solicitor retained by the Group.
Hunter Bulga Gas Action Group Inc.,