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Mineral and Other Legislation Amendment Bill

The Queensland Parliament has “restored balance between the rights of farmers, miners, and the community” by introducing and passing legislation to reinstall landholder and community objection rights to mining projects, according to the Queensland Government.

The Mineral and Other Legislation Amendment Bill was introduced in May this year. The Bill re-introduced community and landholder objection rights to large mining projects as well as introduced a standardised restricted land framework for all resource industries including CSG and mining with changes coming into effect on 27 September 2016. 

Under the laws the Government indicated that proposed resource activities will include:

  • A 50 metre buffer zone (unless a landholder consents to activities) around key infrastructure such as principal stockyards, bores and artesian wells, dams and artificial water storages connected to a water supply;
  • A 200m buffer (unless a landholder consents to activities) around permanent buildings including places of residence;
  • Provide landholders with the option to ‘opt out’ of the provisions of the land access framework; and
  • The right to prevent any mining lease being granted over restricted land without the consent of the owner.

AgForce Projects reminds landholders that before a resource company can conduct ‘advanced activities’ (i.e. drilling a well, clearing tracks or well pads etc.) they must negotiate a Conduct and Compensation Agreement (CCA) with you prior to these activities taking place.

The inclusion of the ‘opt-out’ clause of these amendments provides the ability, where the landholder and the company agree, to remove the requirement to progress through the land access framework including a minimum of 20 business days to negotiate an agreement as well as further time frames through a mediation process.

AgForce Projects strongly encourages all landholders who are considering this approach or have been approached to ‘opt-out’ to contact the CSG Compliance Unit for information on this process to ensure they are fully aware of their rights and responsibilities.

There is no requirement to agree to opt-out of the land access process and this can only occur where the landholder agrees.

AgForce has throughout numerous submissions reiterated that opt-out agreements remove landholder protections and asked government to introduce additional safety guards to ensure landholders are not taken advantage of – however at the time of writing the department could not confirm what checks and balances were being put into place.

Other important components of this Bill include:

  • That CCAs will be noted on title (similar to an easement on property title);
  • The development of standard land access agreements for CSG, coal and minerals;
  • Updates to the 2010 Land Access Code; and
  • Processes for managing overlapping CSG and coal tenures.

For more on this story: https://www.dnrm.qld.gov.au/our-department/corporate-information/policies-initiatives/mining-resources/legislative-reforms/mqra/why-new-resources-act

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