Landowner rights overhauled in SA mining act update

Mining lease

South Australia has increased landowner rights and environment protections in its mining act and regulations review.

The review, which the South Australian Department for Energy and Mining plans to introduce in January next year, sets out to promote a more “harmonious co-existence”.

A total of 58 submissions were provided during the consultation phase of the review earlier this year.

South Australia’s Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the improvements would benefit a number of stakeholders, and would give landowners more time, legal support and protections when dealing with mining and exploration companies.

“Some of the improvements include increased public engagement requirements that reflect the expectations and concerns of local communities, stronger compliance and enforcement powers, and more information and support for land owners working with mining and exploration companies,” he said.

“They improve landowner rights, increase protections for the environment and ultimately deliver more investment and jobs to regional areas in a way which promotes harmonious co-existence of regional industries.

“The changes also mean landowners will have more time, more legal support, increased access to justice and stronger protections when approached by exploration and mining companies.”

The mining reform will improve the state’s mineral prospects due to the revision of lease and license arrangements, streamlined regulatory measures and an increase to the competition and turnover of exploration licenses.

“The enactment of this new mining legislation delivers important reform for the South Australian resources industry and forms an important step in improvements for this important sector,” van Holst Pellekaan said.

The new act is designed to provide more robust and modern legislation and will replace the Mining Act 1971.

The Western Australian Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage is also introducing the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2020 to replace the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972.

Its main goal is to replace outdated Aboriginal heritage laws, which will give a greater voice to Traditional Owners when dealing with land users, such as miners.

The draft bill is being worked on by the Parliamentary Counsel to modify the bill before it is presented to parliament.

“There has been widespread recognition for almost three decades that the 1972 Aboriginal Heritage Act is not in keeping with modern values,” Western Australia’s Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt said.

“The first attempt at reform was undertaken by the Lawrence Government in 1992, but failed due to a lack of consensus. The same fate has befallen many similar attempts by subsequent governments.

“On this occasion, I am confident that we have a path forward to introduce historic reform that reflect modern values.

“I am confident that the effort undertaken to reach broad consensus on these reforms will allow the best possible chance for a Bill to be supported by the 41st Parliament.”

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