Law Reform · Access to Justice

Have your say: Support objection rights being fully restored

04 April, 2016

This Bill amends the Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Act 2014 (Common Provisions Act) which was passed by the Newman Government with numerous concerning attacks on the community’s right to object to mines.

  • EDO Qld have prepared a template submission, available here, to help you with your submissions.

The Mineral and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 (MOLA Bill) was introduced into Parliament on 23 February 2016.

This Bill amends the Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Act 2014 (Common Provisions Act) which was passed by the Newman Government with numerous concerning attacks on the community’s right to object to mines. EDO Qld has worked tirelessly to have those parts of the Common Provisions Act repealed, which include the limiting of the community’s right to object to environmental impacts of a mine – thankfully this section was repealed in mid-2015 by the current government. The MOLA Bill intends on repealing those remaining sections of the Common Provisions Act which affect objection rights, to finally fully restore community rights to object to mines as existed prior to the Common Provisions Act changes. This will mean that any person will continue to have the right to object to a mining lease, rather than limiting the right to narrowly defined ‘directly affected’ people as proposed by the Common Provisions Act.

EDO Qld applauds the Government for fulfilling their election commitment to reinstate these important community objection rights. Mining is one of the biggest impacts on our communities and environment; it is essential that the community has the right to have their concerns heard with respect to proposed mines. 

The MOLA Bill also ensures that the Land Court can consider the financial viability and technical capability of a mining proponent when considering whether they should be granted a mining lease, whether the public right and interest will be prejudiced and whether the level of development of a mining site is acceptable. The Common Provisions Act had transferred these considerations to only the Minister, and not the Land Court in its review.

As many sections of the Common Provisions Act have not yet commenced, if the MOLA Bill is passed it will mean existing public notification obligations and objection rights for variation and standard mining applications for environmental authorities will continue to operate as currently in force.

However, there are sections of the Common Provisions Act that the MOLA Bill regrettably does not propose to repeal or amend, such as :

  • The efforts to coordinate public notification into one period for the mining lease, environmental authority and EIS. This means that submitters have only one specific timeframe in which to provide their comment – removing any back up that they might otherwise have had should they not be able to provide a submission in time during the public notification on either the application for the mining lease, the EIS or the draft environmental authority, as was previously available. Many community members are used to mining leases being notified after the EIS has been finalised.
  • Opt-out agreements will still be able to be entered by landholders – opt-out agreements opens up the possibility for landholders to be bullied into giving up their right to obtain a Conduct and Compensation Agreement. This in turn would mean the landholder has no recourse to the Land Court if there is a material change to the activity. There is little benefit provided to landholders through this provision, and substantial risk.
  • Restricted distances are inadequate and should be increased – While we support the insertion of prescribed distances within which certain activities cannot occur, the proposed restricted distances are inadequate to truly protect landholders from the significant impacts of mining activities. Also, we do not support the activities which will be excluded from needing to comply with restricted distances, many of which will reasonably have an impact on landholders at the allowed distances from their residences.

EDO Qld will continue to work to improve community rights to have your concerns heard with respect to mines as high environmental and community impacting projects.

Submissions close 4.00pm Friday 8 April 2016

Send your submissions to:

Email:    ipnrc@parliament.qld.gov.au

or

Post:

Research Director
Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources Committee
Parliament House
George Street
Brisbane Qld 4000

We highly recommend you amend the template to reflect your personal reasons or case studies for why you care about this bill going through, and change the structure and font etc to make sure that your individual submission is given the weight it deserves by the Committee.