Letters to the Editor

Letter – Why Qlders need to review Resource Act changes by June 30

Glen Martin, June 17, 2014

We write to draw to the attention of all landholders certain provisions of the Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Bill 2014 (Qld) (the Bill)presented to the Queensland Parliament by the Honourable Andrew Cripps on 5 June 2014.

The Bill forms part of the Modernising Queensland’s Resources Acts Program which proposes to replace the five (5) existing pieces of legislation (which govern the energy and resources sector) with a single, common resource Act. Whilst in principal we take no issue with what is trying to be achieved or many of the amendments (and some are good for landholders), there are some very concerning proposals including the following:

  1. Amendments to Restricted Land: At the moment a mining lease cannot be granted without the consent of a landholder over that part of their land that is within 100m laterally of their house and sheds or 50 laterally of their dams, bores, water troughs and stock yards. Also an explorer under and exploration permit for coal or minerals cannot enter such land without the consent of the landholder. The Bill proposes to very significantly alter the definition of restricted land and with it alter landholder rights to the point where landholders may lose altogether the protection currently offered by restricted land. In our view the amendments do not widen the protection offered by restricted land as suggested by some but very seriously erode the protections to the point where there is none. It will in many instances become just a question of compensation.
  2. Rights of Objection: If the Bill is passed, only those people who are classified as “affected persons” will be able to object to the granting of a mining lease. An “affected person” is limited to an owner of land the subject of the proposed mining lease; or an owner of land necessary for access to land the subject of the proposed mining lease; or the relevant local government. This means that neighbours and concerned citizens will not be able to lodge objections to the granting of a mining lease even if they are the one most affected and/or most able to object.
  3. Opt-Out Agreements: A new type of agreement is proposed for coal exploration and CSG affected landholders i.e. an “opt-out” agreement. These agreements will negate the requirement of resource company to enter into a conduct and compensation agreement or deferral agreement but not the obligation to compensate. This type of agreement will in our view necessitate landholders being hyper vigilant when approached by a resource company.
  4. Remediation of Bores: A person appointed by the Chief Executive can enter land and remediate a bore which emits gas beyond the lower flammability limit simply by providing a Notice that it wishes to do so.  This could fundamentally alter the process of a negotiation for a Make Good Agreement under the Water Act 2000 (Qld).

The Bill also proposes to legislate by regulation – i.e. leave many crucial matters to be provided for in a regulation not in the legislation itself. The regulations have not yet been made and such a process is in our view highly undesirable. It leaves many extremely important issues to be decided by a process far less satisfactory than through our parliament.

We also draw Landholder’s attention to the first reading speech by the Honourable Andrew Cripps, which states that the goal of the Bill is to “optimise development and use of Queensland’s mineral and energy resources…”. After reviewing the Bill we cannot help but come to the conclusion that this has come at the expense of Landholders – something which the Government has continually “promised” that this legislation would not do.

We urge all landholders to review, consider and make appropriate submissions to the Agriculture, Resources and Environment Committee by 30 June 2014 and otherwise voice their concerns on the Bill by that date. If they do not we fear the consequences now and in the land term for many could be dire.

 

Glen Martin

Senior Associate

Shine Lawyers

HAVE YOUR SAY

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your comment will not appear until it has been moderated.
Contributions that contravene our Comments Policy will not be published.

Comments

  1. Max Scholefield, June 29, 2014

    As a landholder very lose to the proposed stage 3 of the Acland mine it is becoming increasingly clear that this Queensland government is quite happy to break any pre election committments made to landholders in order to expidite mining and increase royalties. The Qld Nationals have obviously forgotten their roots – the farming and townsfolk of rural Queensland.
    As with most simple farmers and workers I do not have the resources to make a submission to the Agriculture and Environment Committee. even given that the date for submissions has been set back to the 9th of July2014. Is there any help available for me to do this? Max

  2. Joe Taranto, June 23, 2014

    Thank you for the good advice Senior Associated Shine Lawyer. I am not From Queensland. I am a land owner at Gippsland Victoria where Thousands Of land owners Had their land rezoned to rural conservation And suffered huge Damages to our properties value + many years of Trauma and mental anguish . Current wellington Shire Council Valuation Is $500. The above land is located adjacent to mining Licence E L 4416. But I ask is the above mining licence the reason for denial of Natural Justice to be recompensed?

  3. Ellie Smith, June 20, 2014

    The committee looking at these changes has extended the submission period until the 9th July.

  4. Mal Content, June 19, 2014

    A timely reminder to land owners to hop in and defend their investment.
    Note please that I use the suffix ‘owners’ NOT ‘holders’ when referring to land ownership.
    The constant use of the term “Landholders” by those who would trample their rights, has debased the word to the extent that a “Landholder” is considered with little more than the contempt that an illegal squatter would have once gained.
    I OWN my land, and will not permit that tenure to be degraded by politicians or commerce, of any persuasion, corrupt or straight.

Get Beef Central's news headlines emailed to you -
FREE!