QGC pipeline saleIn late August it was reported that QGC’s gas pipeline is for sale for more than $4 billion. Many of you reading this may be aware of or even impacted by this pipeline which extends for 540 kilometres across Queensland from the Surat Basin through to the Gladstone LNG Plant.
News such as this demonstrates the need for landholders to be aware that although you might be dealing with Company A now and everything might be fine, you may very well be dealing with Company XYZ in the future. It also serves as a reminder to make sure that the Conduct and Compensation Agreement provides a framework for what will happen in the event of a sale of the infrastructure on your property to a company you did not enter the agreement with.
Bill changes erode landholder rightsAt 11.57pm on 9 September 2014, landholder rights took one of the biggest hits in recent years when the Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Bill 2014 (Qld) was passed. The Bill is expected to commence later this year once the regulations are finalised.
Importantly, a number of late changes were made to the Bill prior to passing. Unfortunately, the majority of issues raised by Landholders and non-industry groups during the consultation process were ignored.
The following is a sample of the amendments made to the Bill prior to its passing:
- For exploratory tenements, the restricted land area will no longer have to be in use prior to the date the application for the tenement is made.
- Adjoining property owners to land which is the subject of a mining lease application, will be notified of the application and have the right to object on extremely limited grounds;
- A submitter to an Environmental Impact Statement cannot request that their submission be taken to be an objection to the draft environmental authority if the Coordinator General has prescribed conditions to that environmental authority and he/she is satisfied that those conditions adequately address the environmental affects of the mining activity; and
- If an objection to the draft environmental authority is allowed, the grounds for an objection to an environmental authority cannot relate to a Coordinator-General's condition.
This should serve as a reminder for landholders to be vigilant and aware of what is happening to their rights.
QGC applies to reclassify SCLQGC recently made two applications to the Department of Natural Resources and Mines regarding Strategic Cropping Land (SCL) in an area north-west of Wandoan. In 2011 the State Government passed the Strategic Cropping Land Act which sought to protect SCL by creating a register of SCL in Queensland. QGC’s applications seek to remove certain land from this SCL register.
There are a number of advantages in Landholders having their land classified as SCL. Under the new Regional Planning Interests Act, resource companies must obtain a development approval in certain situations before conducting any activities on SCL. To obtain a development approval, the company must demonstrate to the department that the activity cannot be carried out in any other location and any impact must be minimised. Any activities conducted by a resource company must take up no more than 2% of SCL on a property.
The Strategic Cropping Land Act was repealed on 13 June 2014 and under the new laws different, and somewhat more difficult, criteria must be met in order to reclassify SCL. However, as QGC submitted their applications before the date of repeal, their applications will be assessed under the old Act.
5 tips for dealings with a resource company
- Take your time – While you may feel pressured to make a quick decision or that a quick decision is a good one, hasty decisions are rarely the best ones. Take time to carefully consider the impact the decision will have in the short and long term
- Keep a diary – Keeping notes of your dealings with the company can be invaluable in your negotiations. Record details such as the time and date of the conversation, who you spoke with, what you spoke about and any action to be taken
- Understand the hierarchy – Land Liaison Officers can only make decisions on certain matters and, in the case of compensation, only up to a certain amount if at all. Important decisions will take time and will pass through a number of hands
- Present a united front – Make sure you and your representative are acting as one and putting forward the same position. Doing the opposite will frustrate negotiations and could prejudice your position.
- Check the facts – If the company tells you something, ‘fact check’ the information to confirm it’s correct.
Mental health research to support landholdersThe University of Newcastle is calling on farmers and agricultural workers to participate in a short survey to contribute to research that will help the community better support landholders coping with difficult issues.
The research will investigate the impacts of various factors, including work demands and sleep patterns, on mental health in Australian farmers
The online survey takes 15 minutes and is completely anonymous. For each survey completed, $5 will be donated to beyondblue.
Complete the survey here.
Written by Peter Shannon
Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: September 21, 2014.