Australian Organic released guidelines in June 2012 for organic producers and mining companies.
Unlike conventional properties, producers with organic certification are afforded some protection under a number of Acts. Petroleum and gas activity on an organic or biodynamic property is described as an advanced activity under Acts including the Mineral Resources Act 1989 and the Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2009.
This means energy companies need an agreement with the landholder before they can go onto an organic or biodynamic property.
Australian Organic's Greg Paynter says Guidelines for organic producers and resource development companies has been a long time in the making.
He says, “The Guidelines will help organic producers and mining companies understand their rights and responsibilities.
“Some of the greatest threats mining poses to organic and biodynamic properties are chemical contamination and altered public perception.
“The materials used to extract or explore wouldn't be compliant with the requirements of an organic standard.”
Hydraulic fracturing, or fraccing, for coal seam gas uses a host of chemicals; however, this type of mining operation has operated on organic farms where the farmer and company have been able to negotiate suitable arrangements, not compromising on the organic integrity of the property.
Australia has 12 million hectares of organic farmland, most of which are in states where mining and exploration are taking place.
The Guidelines were developed in conjunction with the Queensland Government. Greg adds, “At a recent meeting to finalise dealing with resource development activities, the Queensland Government showed genuine interest and understanding about the constraints organic producers are faced with due to standards.”
To find out about becoming certified organic go to aco.net.au or call 07 3350 5716.