As a Landowner you may have had some of your property mapped by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines (Department) as “Strategic Cropping Land”. While this recognition and designation by the Department may appear reassuring, an “eligible person”, which includes a resource company, can submit a validation application that the land is not Strategic Cropping Land.
A flurry of activity at the end of June and into July saw Landowners being served with notices from resource company tenement holders that an application had been made to the Department, pursuant to s 40 of the now repealed Strategic Cropping Land Act 2011, to make a decision that land is not strategic cropping land. The reason given by resource companies is they want to “improve the accuracy of mapping across their petroleum titles”.
Validation applications have the effect of updating the electronic trigger map managed by the Department called the “Trigger Map for Strategic Cropping Land in Queensland”. As the fees for submitting a validation application to determine whether land is or is not strategic cropping land range between $2,089 – $6,372 each, it begs the question – why are resource companies making these applications and why now?
Why have resource companies made these applications? Why now?
The Regional Planning Interests Act 2014 (RPI Act) commenced on 13 June 2014. The RPI Act had the effect of repealing the Strategic Cropping Land Act 2011 (SCL Act), and designating strategic cropping areas as areas “of regional interest”. Importantly, the RPI Act creates a new approval requirement for resource activities and certain “regulated activities” carried out on strategic cropping areas. Resource companies operating on tenements where land is designated a strategic cropping area, and therefore an area of regional interest, may now need to take steps to get authorisation for their activities.
However, in accordance with the transitional provisions of the RPI Act, a strategic cropping land validation application made prior to 13 June 2014 must be dealt with under the repealed SCL Act. Decisions made under the SCL Act by the Department will operate to update the Strategic Cropping trigger map used to designate land as a strategic cropping area under the new RPI Act (see s 98 RPI Act). What we are seeing is resource companies seeking to remove strategic cropping area designations from the Department’s trigger map to circumvent the need for authorisations required under the new RPI Act.
Have you been served with notice from your tenement holder?
As a Landowner, the applicant resource company is to serve you with notice of their application. Public notification must occur and Landowners and other interested parties must be given at least 21 days to make a submission to the Department in response to the resource company’s application. If you want to be heard, make a submission to the Department of Natural Resources and Mines. You may want to challenge the resource company’s view of the history of cropping on your land.