The Queensland Government some months ago passed the
Geothermal Energy Act 2010, which included proposed
changes to Queensland's legal framework under which explorers
(that is, holders of exploration permits and mineral development
licences) can have access to land, and the basis on which they pay
compensation to landholders.
The changes, as amended subsequently by the Natural
Resources and other Legislation Amendment Act (No. 2)
2010, begin today.
These are the main changes:
The previous requirements were for entry notices to be given at
least five business days before entry. This has been replaced with
a process for negotiating compensation (for advanced activities),
followed by an entry notice that must be given at least 10 business
days before entry is effected. For preliminary activities, only the
entry notice needs to be given first; compensation can be worked
out later. The legislation still permits explorers to gain access
to land by negotiation, but beware of the longer time frames if
negotiations are unsuccessful – up to 50 business
The Mineral Resources Act formerly provided for the
landowners' "loss, damage or injury" to be
compensated. There was no requirement that compensation be agreed
before entry. This has been replaced with a more comprehensive
definition of "compensatable effect," and (other than for
preliminary activities) the compensation must be agreed, or an
application must be made to the Land Court to determine that
compensation, before entry commences.
The concepts of "preliminary activities" and
"advanced activities" are complex, and we won't cover
them in this Alert. The essential difference under the legislation
is that preliminary activities have no effect, or only a minor
effect, on the landowners' land use or business activities.
Who gets entry notices and who is compensated?
Entry notices must be given, and compensation must be agreed or
determined, with both "owners" and "occupiers",
whereas the Mineral Resources Act formerly applied only to
The new legislation also makes a number of other amendments,
including broadening the scope of protection for landholders from
claims made by third parties because of the acts or omissions of
the mineral exploration tenement holder.
These changes do not apply to prospecting permits, mining claims
or mining leases.
For more detail about the land access and compensation charges
introduced by the Geothermal Energy Act 2010, please see
These changes apply from today. There are transitional
provisions for existing entry notices and existing compensation
agreements, but these have only a limited effect. They will expire
by the earlier of six months after the anniversary date of the
tenement, or 6 September 2011, and they will only continue to apply
to activities stated in an earlier entry notice, or for which
compensation was agreed before today.
It is a common misconception that the grant of mining tenure, whether it be an Exploration Permit, Mineral Development Licence or Mining Lease, will entitle the holder to access all land within it in order to explore or mine.
This briefing note sets out a likely structure for the proposed privatisation of the networks and identifies key issues.
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