Early signs of the Government's replacement framework for
the Wild River's legislation indicate that little will change
under the new regime. Mining and petroleum activities within
defined areas will either be prohibited, or heavily controlled.
However, the overall area of restrictions may be increased.
The announcements, made by Government on 1 August 2013, were in
response to a report by the Western Rivers Advisory Panel
(WRAP) released on 2 July 2013.
The panel (consisting of various interest groups including
mining) was asked to report on 'alternative strategies' for
protecting these important Queensland river systems.
The resources sector, represented by the Queensland Resources
Council, strongly opposed the development of a new law as it argued
this approach would simply trade one Wild Rivers' regime for
another, however labelled.
Current announcements by Government
Open cut mining will not be allowed in the Channel Country
surrounding the Georgina and Diamantina Rivers and Cooper Creek and
that petroleum development will be strictly controlled in these
areas under the Environmental Protection Act 1994
This will mean that proposed petroleum developments will be
subject to stronger environmental conditioning than in any other
part of Queensland;
A special "Channel Country Protection Area" will be
created which will protect a greater area of channels and flood
plains than the existing Wild Rivers legislation; and
No cotton will be grown on the Cooper Creek and no further
water released for irrigation from these river systems.
Although the replacement regime may represent a change in
'style' rather than 'substance', resources
companies should take the opportunity to continue to lobby for
Once the final details of the new law are released, proponents
should also seek legal advice as to how their existing, and any
future, projects may be affected.
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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