Proposed bill to help resources companies, landholders ‘co-exist’

The Queensland Government has introduced new legislation in Parliament designed to improve negotiations between resources companies and landholders.

Queensland natural resources and mines minister Anthony Lynham said the Mineral, Water and Other Legislation Amendment Bill will make it “easier for landholders and companies to co-exist”. It will provide more certainty around the costs that can be recovered by landholders when negotiating a conduct and compensation agreement.

Lynham told Parliament that under the changes to the Mineral and Energy (Common Provisions) Act 2014, resources companies would be required to cover the reasonable and necessary agronomist costs incurred by a landholder to assess the impact of resources activities on their land.

“This is in addition to the existing requirement for resource companies to pay a landholder’s reasonably and necessarily incurred legal accounting and valuation costs,” he said.

“The legislation also clarifies that these costs must be paid by a resources company even where negotiations are abandoned and an agreement is not reached.”

The Land Court has also been given jurisdiction to determine the costs if there is a dispute between both parties.

The proposed changes come after a review of Queensland’s Gasfields Commission, which included an assessment of current land access and compensation arrangements.

Lynham added that the proposed bill will also take into account cultural outcomes, to explicitly recognise the cultural value of water resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parties.