QRC welcomes land access review panel

 The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has welcomed the government’s announcement of a panel to review land access laws enacted last year.

According to QRC chief Michael Roche, "it’s clear from QRC members’ experience of the past 12 months that there were unintended consequences from the new regime.

‘The QRC will be making a submission to the panel to draw their attention to our members’ experiences of the new legislation," Roche said.

"I applaud the government for keeping its commitment to reviewing the laws.

"It is a high quality, balanced panel and we are particularly pleased to see it includes chair of the Queensland Exploration Council and former Deputy Coordinator General Geoff Dickie and Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy President Alice Clark on board," he added.

It comes after the QRC called on the government’s proposed strategic cropping land legislation to reflect all the available scientific advice.

Responding to the introduction of the legislation, Roche stated that the inclusion of soil criteria in the Bill, instead of in subsequent regulations, means the focus would move to the Parliament’s Environment, Agriculture Resources and Energy Committee.

Roche said at the time that it could bring about the introduction of another exclusion zone for mining operations, which will mean that a number of projects will be blocked.

"However, we do acknowledge that the government has recognised the prior investment of tens of millions of dollars in advanced projects and is also providing avenues for these projects to work within the legislative framework," he added.

The Queensland Government also recently invested $300 000 to provide free legal aid to central Queensland landholders in their dealings with resource companies over land access and compensation.

 Minister for employment, skills, and mining Stirling Hinchliffe said the Bligh Government recognised the commodities boom was putting pressure on landholders as resource companies seek access to their land for exploration and development.

"Negotiating legal agreements with resource companies for conduct and compensation can be a complex and costly exercise," he said.

"We’ve taken this action to ensure local communities and individuals get the help they need to negotiate land access issues."

Land access issues in NSW have reached boiling point, with farmers calling for the right to block resources companies from accessing their land.

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