The Queensland Government released the Land Access Review Panel’s (Panel) report on the effectiveness of the Land Access Framework (Framework) in Parliament on Tuesday 19 June 2012. The Framework was implemented by the Queensland Government in December 2010 to address issues regarding access to private land for resource activities. The Panel’s report reviewed the Framework’s effectiveness using feedback it received from key stakeholders including peak bodies, community groups, landholders, resource companies, lawyers and other land access professionals.
The report found that although the Framework has changed the way resource companies must negotiate access with landholders, it has often not improved working relationships. The report includes 12 recommendations the Queensland Government and other stakeholders can make to the Framework to further improve the way landholders and resource companies interact.
The 12 recommendations, designed to improve the process of negotiation between landholders and resource companies and to resolve disputes efficiently, are as follows:
- Ensure landholders are informed when a tenure is granted and that they understand what a resource tenure process entails;
- Improve the quality and availability of information about land access by reviewing existing information and developing new material and programs better targeted to landholders;
- Provide a simpler and faster way to reach a definitive resolution by establishing an independent panel to determine disputes arising in negotiating a Conduct and Compensation Agreement (CCA);
- Provide parties with information about the impacts of activities undertaken on the property so that landholders and resource companies can develop a detailed work plan for the future;
- Appoint an independent organisation to clarify what are ‘reasonable and necessary professional costs to negotiate a CCA’, initially by establishing a database of legal and other professional fees;
- Work with the resource and agricultural sectors to develop standard CCA’s by industry for coal, coal seam gas and minerals;
- Progress the development of a notification system that allows prospective purchasers of a property to find out if a CCA has been entered into for resources on that property;
- Introduce a way for two willing parties to opt-out of the requirement to sign a CCA;
- Review the meaning of ‘compensatable effects’ to ensure it clearly articulates what a landholder can be compensated for;
- Review technical and legislative issues that could be improved to provide more certainty in the process;
- Review the Framework and the recommendations given in the report in 3 years;
- Note that there were various issues raised by stakeholders that were out-of-scope of the review.
Holding Redlich can, and often does, assist parties involved in these negotiations.
Ron Eames, Partner
T: +61 7 3135 0629
Kirsty Rourke, Senior Associate
T: +61 7 3135 0648
The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this newsletter is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.