P&E Law lodged a recent submission on behalf of landowners in respect of the Palaszczuk government’s Mineral and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 introduced in February 2016. The Bill proposes to amend the Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Act 2014 (the MERCP Act) which is currently scheduled to commence on 27 September 2016.
On a positive note the Bill will amend the MERCP Act to restore community rights to object to mining lease applications.
There are some provisions of the Bill aimed at protecting agricultural infrastructure like stockyards, bores and artesian wells as restricted land. In our view the amendments take away important existing protections for landowners.
P&E Law in its submission focussed on 4 key reforms that significantly disadvantage landowners. We think the law needs radical change. In particular:
- the new laws do not standardise the industry – gross inconsistencies continue to exist for landowners between mining and Coal Seam Gas mining. For mining on private land such as coal mining there is no requirement to negotiate a Conduct and Compensation Agreement to the significant detriment of land owners;
- the proposal to allow parties to “Opt-Out” of the statutory framework will lead to more misleading and deceptive conduct and unconscionable conduct by gas companies and takes away existing protections and safeguards such as access to the Land Court in the case of disputes;
- the 600m rule protecting landholders from exploration around their house is proposed to be abolished. This means mining company employees and contractors can approach within 200m of households without consent; and
- overturning the current laws on the protection of water pipelines as “restricted land” – rendering dams and watering points useless. The change should be dropped.
A copy of P&E Law’s submission was provided to each of the parliamentary cross-bencher members who sit as independents or are members of the Katter Australia Party for their consideration.
To obtain a copy of our submission, please email email@example.com.