Drought stricken farmers warned against CSG deals

DROUGHT-stricken farmers facing financial destruction are being warned not to rush into deals with coal seam gas firms that could lock them into arrangements spanning decades.

The struggles facing primary producers - particularly in the state's gas-rich south-west - come as the CSG industry is booming.

Latest industry figures suggest from July to September last year, more than 400 gas wells were drilled, or more than four per day.

The state government's GasFields Commission Queensland acts as an intermediary between industry and farmers.

GasFields Commissioner Don Stiller said he knew of cash-strapped landholders signing long-term deals because they were on the cusp of financial failure.

"It's very difficult under a lot of financial pressure and your bank is hammering at you as well and there's a chance to get some cash from another source," Mr Stiller said.

"I worry that they have to be careful.

"Look in the long term, not the short term."

That could be easier said then done.

Charles Nason, whose Roma property is within another gas-rich part of the state, told APN last week that even a drought-breaking rain may not be enough to keep producers on the land.

"It may get to the stage it did in the 1930s where people owed more than they were worth and they simply walked off (the land) - people are just at the end of their tether," he said.

Mr Stiller said there had been no reports of gas companies attempting to take advantage of producers.

A spokesman for the gas industry peak body - the Australian Petroleum Production &

Exploration Association - said gas companies put "the highest possible importance on respectful and professional negotiation".



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