Mining Act delay

SOME of the proposed amendments to the Mining Act 1971 could address land access concerns raised by farmers.

Member for Flinders Peter Treloar said in parliament last week, at the now adjourned second reading, that while some improvements had been made ‘exempt land’ remained a “vexed issue”.

”Most of the bill is the result of a lot of good work over a long period of time, but I do not believe in my own mind that we have addressed properly the quite rightful concerns that landowners have around exempt land and what that might mean for their farming business,” he said.

Mr Treloar said what he considered “the crux” of the bill were the sections that dealt with ‘exempt land’.

He said the act declared land used as a cultivated field, plantation, orchard or vineyard for commercial purposes as exempt but “it seems that is not so”.

Section 9AA of the act provides a formal process for a tenement holder and landowner to enter into an agreement to waive the benefit of an exemption however, if the tenement holder is unable to reach an agreement with the owner, they can apply to the ERD Court for an order waiving the benefit of the exemption.

“The option is for an exploration company to go to court and have that exempt land waived,” Mr Treloar said. 

“It seems to be a no-win situation for farmers, which makes it really difficult and just adds to this uncertainty that we have been talking about.”

Mr Treloar said he had received a lot of correspondence from his constituents relating to land access and it had not been entirely solved with the new bill.

Last week the Member for Narungga Fraser Ellis, Member for MacKillop Nick McBride, Davenport MP Steve Murray and Kavel MP Dan Cregan voted with Labor for an adjournment of the debate until February 26 next year.

Mr Treloar said he would have been happy to continue the debate as there were amendments on file and it would not have been debated in the Upper House until next year.

He said some of those amendments could improve land access.

“Wherever it finishes up, it’s not going to be all things to all people,” Mr Treloar said. 

“What I am hopeful for is a better understanding of the definition of ‘exempt land’ and improved rights in relation to land access.”