Property rights and seam gas extraction: The modern property law conundrum
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Recent years have seen a burgeoning in extraction of unconventional gas resources in parts of Australia. As this process requires access by petroleum titleholders to a publicly-owned asset (petroleum) found on privately-owned rural land, this has revealed a structural conflict between the interests of landholders and titleholders. This conflict may be based partly upon a misunderstanding of what is the nature of property rights granted to a fee simple owner or Crown leaseholder. This article discusses the legislative background to this conflict, the changes in perception which are needed for landholders and titleholders to deal with this inherent conflict and the adjustment required to the statutory regulatory system to maintain an equilibrium between private and public property rights and the protection of productive rural land.
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