BSA dismayed by destruction of landholder rights in new law

The Queensland Government’s decision to ignore landholders’ concerns and pass a law that takes away the right for landholders and community groups to object to resource developments has left rural Queenslanders feeling abandoned, according to the Basin Sustainability Alliance (BSA).

BSA Chair Mr David Hamilton said that the Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) bill 2014 passed last night will mean that Queenslanders could have a mine built near their homes without any opportunity to object to it, or to even be notified about it.

“We acknowledge that the Government, at the eleventh hour, decided to include a vital amendment that allows adjoining landholders notification and objection rights, but we still don’t feel the Government has appropriately considered the impacts mining developments can have on the businesses, health and liveability of neighbours, who don’t technically adjoin the mine, and the surrounding community.

“There should be public notification and objection rights available to anyone who has a legitimate concern about proposed mining activity. We should not have had this right taken away. It is not adequate that we are only able to have a say in the conditions of some mines,” Mr Hamilton said.

Mr Hamilton said BSA was extremely disappointed by the public hearing and submission process undertaken by the Agriculture, Resources and Environment Committee.

“Landholders and community groups gave up days and days of their time to review the bill, prepare submissions and attend hearings, only to have the key issues raised completely ignored. It makes the whole process feel like a farce, and we feel very disheartened.

“After listening to, and reading, hundreds of submissions and detailing significant concerns in a 380-page report about the bill, the committee made only four recommendations that gave little regard to the submissions received.

“It’s disgraceful behaviour from a government that seems intent on placing the interests of mining companies , that are extracting a State-held resource, in front of the rights of Queenslanders.

“If the LNP continues to force farmers and communities to be rendered completely powerless in the race for resources, they could well see landholders’ irritation reflected at the ballot box.”

BSA also feels very strongly that there needs to be clarity around the location of mining infrastructure.

“Distances from residences have not been clarified in the bill, so this will be left up to regulation. We are hearing that this is likely to be prescribed as 200 metres.”

“I’m sure Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Andrew Cripps would not want his family to have to live only 200 metres from mining infrastructure, why should other rural Queenslanders have to do so?”