News

Amendments strengthen landholder rights on CSG: Qld Govt

Beef Central, 17/09/2012

The Queensland Government has defended recent changes to laws surrounding landholder negotiations with gas and other resource industry companies.

Rural solicitor Peter Shannon has expressed concerns that recent amendments to the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 will have the effect of stripping family trusts, partnerships and companies that operate rural enterprises of entitlements to compensation when their operation suffers adverse impacts due to CSG industry activities.

The Queensland Government is currently examining Mr Shannon’s concerns, but Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Andrew Cripps said the Newman Government was committed to ensuring landholders were not disenfranchised in negotiations with resource companies.

Mr Cripps said the changes made in the Streamlining Amendment Bill “simply ensured that all landholders across Queensland, whether they are negotiating with gas companies or coal companies, have the same rights and are treated with respect.”

He said the definition of the persons or parties that a resources company must negotiate with and pay compensation for impacts was now consistent across the petroleum legislation and the Mineral Resources Act (MRA) 1989.

The previous definition of occupier contained the P&G Act was very broad in nature, and would have included occupation interests that have no business or legitimate interest in the land such as campers and others temporary lawful occupiers. This was certainly not the policy intent, he said.

Mr Cripps said the amended definition contained in the Streamlining Bill was not intended to exclude those parties with legitimate and important business interests in land such as occupiers under trust or partnership arrangements.

It was important to note that the definition had been functioning effectively under the MRA, and the Government has had no concerns raised by stakeholders regarding the ‘occupier’ definition.

“What this demonstrates is that practically, these type of complex ownership and occupier arrangements are able to be dealt with effectively under the definition without exclusion of any relevant interests,” he said.

“This Government is committed to strengthening compensation arrangements around land access and ensuring that landholder’s rights are protected. 

“Further important work will be undertaken as part of Government’s response to the independent Land Access Review that will be release later this year.”

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