Voices for the Gaslands: Bob’s story
Like his father and grandfather before him Bob Nixon has spent a lifetime developing his Hereford bull stud in Queensland.
The Drillham based stud is well known for the structural soundness, fertility and good temperament of its bulls.
Each year the property showcases the stud at an on-farm bull sale. Attention to detail, specialist care and development has earned the business a good reputation.
But the property is currently in drought and Bob fears for the long-term future of the bore water that he relies on to carry the property through the tough times.
A few years ago the gas industry arrived and bullied their way onto the property with the threat of court action unless Bob agreed to allow exploration wells to be drilled on his land.
“This is good country and a lot has gone into breeding these bulls,” Bob said.
“My biggest concern is the water. I am afraid we are going to get our water contaminated over time. It cannot help but get that salt water and whatever mixed up with our good water. I don’t think it is worth the risk.”
He finds it hard to understand why the gas industry was in such a hurry to force its way onto his land and he can’t see why there is such a rush to develop all of the gas reserves at once.
“I don’t know why it has to be such a big frenzy,” he said.
Bob said the arrival of the gas miners has added a new level of stress to farming, one that people on the land did not want or need.
“We have always been people who have been in charge of our own destiny here. Well with this we are not in charge of it anymore. That is how I feel.”
The gas miners drilled the first of a proposed five exploratory wells on his property and then left without explanation. No one has been back since the first well was sunk and the family are left wondering what will happen in the future.
Bob feels his land has been invaded by an industry whose interest is in short-term profit at the expense of his business, his family, his water and his future.