Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Nationals Barnaby Joyce is calling for farmers and landholders to be able to benefit from a greater share in the gas and oil resources extracted from under their land.
Mr Joyce praised an initiative of the South Australian government to pay landholders a 10 per cent royalty for new gas production on their land.
“While I’m critical of the South Australian Labor government’s failed energy policies that have plunged that state into darkness, I do praise their initiative to start talking about giving landholders a better return from gas development,” Mr Joyce said.
“I listened to Premier Weatherill’s announcement and there is one issue I strongly agree with: a fair return has to go back to the farmer.
“I commend his recognition of this in the discussion of a royalty return back to farmers of coal seam gas extraction.”
The Deputy PM’s comments follow calls by the Commonwealth for state and territory governments to lift any gas moratoriums and revisit restrictions on gas exploration and development.
Mr Joyce said landholders with gas reserves should be viewed by the industry as potential business partners and not as obstacles who could be ridden roughshod over.
“We need to have a national discussion on how to give landholders a greater say and greater share in the hydrocarbon resources on their land,” he said.
He said he welcomed the growing realisation by so many that unless a fair return is provided to a landholder, then nothing may be released.
The Australian gas industry agreed to work with government to ensure more gas is made available to the domestic market, after a crisis meeting with the Prime Minister last week.