The Queensland Government is proposing to replace the
five current Acts with a single "Common Resources Act"
with multiple resource-specific regulations.
The Queensland Government is proposing that, by 2016, a new
"Common Resources Act" be developed to replace the
State's current resources legislation: the Mineral Resources
Act 1989, the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004,
the Petroleum Act 1923, the Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2009 and the
Geothermal Energy Act 2010.
An industry discussion paper has been released by the Department
of Natural Resources and Mines to peak industry bodies and
stakeholders that outlines the Government's proposal and its
preferred process for implementing the reform.
As the Government claims, this stands to be the most significant
reform to Queensland's resources legislation in over 150 years,
and is aimed at harmonising the tenure processes and streamlining
The move to reform has been fuelled by the Newman
Government's electoral promise to reduce red tape by 20% and
the recent Streamlining Approvals Project that identified a number
of benefits associated with harmonising the regulation of resource
The Government has identified Queensland's resources
legislation as having become unnecessarily complex and inefficient
as a result of having historically separate tenure regimes for
minerals and petroleum, and cumulative amendments to legislation
being made over time rather than genuine reform.
The Government undertook an analysis of similar mining
jurisdictions to compare various models of tenure legislation, and
concluded that a model adopting a single Act with multiple
resource-specific regulations was the preferred reform
The Government proposes to deliver the legislative reform
incrementally over the next 3 to 4 years, in the following
Stage 1: Creation of a "Common Sections
All existing common elements from the five current resources
Acts would be transferred to a new Common Sections Act. This would
include common sections dealing with royalties, security, dealings,
registers and native title.
Stage 2: Other common non-permit related
All "post-grant" related provisions would be reviewed
with the aim of achieving commonality and transferred to the new
Common Sections Act. These would include provisions dealing with
compensation, ownership of assets, non-compliance, appeals,
reporting and overlapping tenures.
Stage 3: Establishing common permit types
A common set of tenure types would be established in the new
Common Sections Act, with transitional provisions for the automatic
conversion of existing tenures to the new types. The discussion
paper acknowledges that some tenure types are resource specific
(eg. petroleum pipeline licences).
Stage 4: Developing resource-specific
The remaining resource-specific provisions of the current Acts
would be dealt with, either by new resource-specific sections
created in the new Act or by resource-specific regulations. The
health and safety provisions in the Petroleum and Gas (Production
and Safety) Act 2004 would be separated into its own
The Government is anticipating each stage will take
approximately 1 year to complete. A new industry and government
reference panel is to be established to manage the reform project,
and will be supported by smaller working groups.
The industry discussion paper invites submissions from peak
industry bodies and stakeholders on the following:
the Government's vision of achieving a single common
resources Act with multiple resource-specific regulations; and
the Government's proposal to incrementally and
collaboratively deliver legislative reform over the next 3 to 4
Submissions are due by 1 March 2013.
We will continue to monitor the progress of this reform project,
and provide further updates as developments arise.
Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide
commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon
as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular
transactions or on matters of interest arising from this bulletin.
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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.
The mining industry is one of Australia's most important export sectors and makes a significant economic and social contribution to the Australian economy. Mining and minerals activity currently comprises 8 per cent of the Australian economy and 40 per cent of exports.
While the focus is on New South Wales, the same issues will largely apply to Queensland, with one fundamental difference.
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