Earlier this month, as part of a larger ‘Modernising Queensland’s Resources Acts’ initiative, the Queensland Government released two discussion papers for public consultation. Both papers represent very significant policy changes which are interconnected due to their impacts on landholders, communities and the environment.
The Mining Lease Notification and Objection Paper (PDF)
EDO Qld strongly opposes the following proposed changes in the discussion paper:
- Limiting the right to object to a mining lease (ML) application to directly affected landholders and local government;
- Limiting the right to make a submission on (and appeal against) an environmental authority (EA) application to site-specific projects only;
- Restricting the matters which the Land Court can consider for a ML objection;
- Removing the requirement to re-notify an EA application when an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has been conducted under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 (Qld); and
- Removing restricted land status in situations where a miner is granted exclusive surface rights to access land (for example, open cut mines).
EDO Qld instead supports the current and long-established laws for open standing, for any person or group to be entitled to object to any mining proposal (both ML and EA) in open court to have evidence scrutinised about the benefits and detriments of a proposed mine.
The Restricted Lands Discussion Paper (PDF)
Currently, ‘restricted land’ provisions require mining companies to obtain landholder consent prior to undertaking authorised activities within the restricted land. EDO Qld makes the following comments in relation to the proposed changes:
- The paper narrows what infrastructure is protected by ‘restricted land’ provisions;
- ‘Restricted land’ provisions should apply to open cut coal mines - increased distances’ and ‘extended neighbour consent rights’ effectively mean nothing if an open cut mine is approved;
- Landholders with their residence more than 200 metres away would have less protection with the abolition of the 600 metre rule;
- Exemption for CSG pipelines should not be allowed;
- Definitions and categories of protected infrastructure are vague and ambiguous; and
- The changes will create more uncertainty for landholders and communities.