Landholders and community members have had their objection rights restored in Queensland with new legislation passed in parliament today.
Minister for State Development and Natural Resources and Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham told Parliament today that the Mineral and Other Legislation Amendment Bill fulfilled two Palaszczuk Government commitments to farmers and to community groups.
“The legislation passed today fulfils the government’s commitments to restore community objection rights to proposed mining projects, and to protect key agricultural infrastructure,” Dr Lynham said.
“As per our commitments, we have re-established the right for anyone to object to a proposed mining project on broad grounds,” he said.
“Landholders will also have the right to say no to resource activities beside their key infrastructure.”
The legislation, passed today, reinstates rights removed by the previous LNP Government, and also prevents provisions they put into place from taking effect.
It follows the Government’s move in July last year to restore community objection rights around large-scale mining projects assessed through the Coordinator-General.
The new legislation will see landholders retain a minimum 50-metre protection zone around key agricultural infrastructure such as principal stockyards, bores and artesian wells, dams and artificial water storages connected to a water supply; the right to prevent any mining lease being granted over restricted land without the consent of the owner; and the security of knowing ministers cannot extinguish restricted status for their land – a power a minister would have had under the LNP’s proposed laws.
Community members will retain rights they would have lost under the LNP laws to have their say on mining lease and environmental authority applicationsfor mining projects and to be advised of any proposed mining projects through ads in newspapers.
Dr Lynham said the resource sector would benefit from the Queensland Land Court having a new power to strike out any frivolous or vexatious objections.
The Queensland Resources Council said the mine objection laws “open the floodgates for anti-resources activists to disrupt and delay projects”.
Chief executive Michael Roche said the new law was yet another to add to the stack that made it harder to get on with business in the state, despite the resources sector being one of the heavy lifters in the economy, generating one in every six jobs and injecting $2.1 billion in royalties over the past financial year alone.
“The QRC understands that MOLA delivers the Palaszczuk Government’s election promise to wind back amendments made by the Newman government to streamline the objection process for mining projects in Queensland,” Mr Roche said.
“We agree the community should have an avenue for their concerns to be heard about mining projects, however this should not equate to multiple years in the Land Court spent frustrating and delaying what is supposed to be an administrative process only, not a Hollywood-style courtroom hearing.”
The changes take effect on September 27.