Australia: First tranche of new resources laws passed by Queensland Parliament

HG Resources and Energy Alert: 12 September 2014

On 9 September 2014, the Queensland Parliament passed the Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Bill 2014 (Qld) (we will call this the Common Provisions Act).

Key points

  1. The Common Provisions Act makes significant changes to Queensland's laws relating to mineral and energy resources: the Mineral Resources Act (MR Act), the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act and the Petroleum Act, the Geothermal Energy Act, the Greenhouse Gas Storage Act, the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act (SDPWO Act) and Environmental Protection Act (EP Act).
  2. The Common Provisions Act will commence by proclamation, which is not expected to occur until 1 January 2015, so there is still time to get up to speed on how the changes will affect your business.
  3. Many key details for the Common Provisions Act amendments will be determined by Regulations yet to be released – we will keep you updated as this occurs.

The Common Provisions Act is the first tranche of new resources laws being rolled out under the Queensland Government's "Modernising Queensland's Resources Acts Program" (MQRA program).

The purpose of the MQRA program is to consolidate Queensland's disparate, lengthy and industry-focused resources statutes (there were five, respectively for minerals, petroleum (two Acts), geothermal resources and greenhouse gas capture and storage) under a single common resources law, so far as is possible.

Due to the enormity of that task, the reforms are carried out in stages, with the amendment of existing legislation until all of the existing laws have been migrated into a single statute.

In the lead up to the Common Provisions Act's commencement, we will be working with you (including in workshops) to explain how it will impact on your specific project and operations.

Preliminary to that specific consultation, we have set out below some of the key areas of reform.

Notification and objection

The existing mining lease notification and objection processes were highly (and arguably redundantly) regulated, with smaller operations that are unlikely to have a significant or widespread impact being required to follow the same processes under the MR Act and EP Act as large projects. There was further duplication for large projects with similar notification and objection requirements under the SDPWO Act.

The Common Provisions Act removes duplication and provides for a level of assessment and scrutiny that is suitable to a project's potential scale, risk and impact.

Notification is a good example. Presently, miners have to publicly notify all mining lease applications, irrespective of the scale, risk and impact of the project. Under the Common Provisions Act, only "affected persons" which includes landowners who own land within the boundary of the mining lease or whose land is to be used for access to the mining lease, land occupiers, infrastructure providers and the local government will be sent notification of mining lease applications.

The changes also mean that the general public, including environmental groups, cannot lodge an objection to a mining lease. Like notification, these rights are reserved for the parties who are directly affected by the proposed project - the owners of land the subject of the proposed mining lease, owners of land necessary for access to the mining lease, and the relevant local government. It is important to note here that this does not extend to land occupiers or infrastructure providers, although these entities are to be notified about the application. However, objections made on environmental grounds to the proposed environmental authority for a project will remain open to the public.

In a last minute amendment to the Common Provisions Act, land owners who share a common boundary with the proposed lease area now also have the right to receive a copy of the application and to object to the project on limited grounds. The grounds on which an adjoining land owner may object have yet to be addressed in the Common Provisions Act.

The Land Court retains the function of hearing objections and making recommendations to the Minister with regard to mining lease applications. However, the changes require that there be clear grounds for objection and hearings will exclude technical, financial and commercial-in-confidence matters. The changes provide for the Land Court to strike out objections which are vexatious, frivolous or an abuse of the Court process.

A significant change is in relation to the SDPWO Act in circumstances where the Coordinator General's report for a project states conditions for the proposed environmental authority and the Coordinator General is satisfied that these conditions address the proposal's environmental effects. In this case, the amendment provides that a submitter under the EP Act to an environmental authority application may not request that its submission be taken to be an objection to such application.

New overlapping tenements regime

The Common Provisions Act sets up a new regime for overlapping coal and petroleum resource authorities in Queensland. A key objective of this reform is to remove the 'first mover advantage' obtained by the party which was granted its production permit first, enabling that party to effectively 'lock out' the second party, by restricting the resource activities that the second party can undertake in the overlapping area. This meant that resources are unlikely to be developed to their full potential, resulting in an economic loss to the State. The issue is addressed by the Common Provisions Act by establishing a 'right of way' for coal production subject to notice and compensation requirements in favour of the gas party (which can be more flexible during production).

The new regime will not apply to overlaps with production tenure granted before the commencement of the Common Provisions Act. The coal and petroleum tenure holders may also contract out of the new regime (however, note there are some mandatory provisions).

Exploration overlaps

No substantial change to the current law is proposed.

Holders of coal exploration tenure may undertake activities in the area of an authority to prospect for petroleum (ATP) as long as those activities do not adversely affect the activities of the ATP tenure holder that have already started in the overlap area (and vice versa).

Exploration/production overlaps

The Common Provisions Act now extends the same 'adverse affect' test that applies to exploration overlaps to the activities undertaken by:

  • an ATP holder in the area of a mining lease (ML); and
  • coal exploration tenure in the area of a petroleum lease (PL).

This is different to the existing law that requires the ATP holder or coal exploration tenure holder to obtain the written consent of the relevant overlapping production tenure holder.

Production/Production overlaps

Elements of the new regime Comments
A direct path to grant for coal and petroleum production tenure Although there is now a direct path to grant, the parties are still required to agree a joint development plan.
The coal party must give the gas party at least 10 years' notice prior to the gas party being required to abandon an area The gas party can extend the 10 years notice period in 'exceptional circumstances'. If the parties cannot agree, the petroleum tenure holder may apply to arbitrate the dispute.
Compensation payable by coal party

Is available:

  • for replacement of PL connecting infrastructure or PL major gas infrastructure where that is impacted by coal activities; or
  • where the relevant notice period is shortened, for lost CSG production and replacement of minor gas infrastructure.
Dispute resolution If the parties cannot agree on the matters set out above, then in each scenario the relevant party can apply for arbitration of the dispute. This may cause extensive delay and costs for each party.
Surat Basin transitional provisions The overlapping tenure regime operates differently in the Surat Basin for PLs granted after commencement but not later than 31 December 2016. For example the coal party must give the gas party 16 years notice (the gas party cannot seek to extend that for exceptional circumstances and the coal party cannot shorten the relevant notice period).

Restricted Land

The concept of restricted land applies where there is infrastructure that cannot readily coexist with resource activities and cannot readily be relocated. Because of the sensitivity of these areas, the resource company needs the consent of the landholder before access is obtained.

Currently, there are different requirements in relation to these areas depending on the resource type. The Common Provisions Act implements a consistent restricted land framework across all resource types, while ensuring that restricted land requirements apply only to appropriate types of infrastructure.

The key changes include:

  • altering the definition of 'restricted land'. The concept has been expanded to apply to any building if it is reasonably considered that the building cannot be easily relocated or cannot coexist with the resource authority. However the water-related features (such as bores, dams, artificial water storage and connection structures) are no longer specifically included in the definition of restricted land;
  • potentially increasing the buffer zone for restricted land. It is currently 100 metres for permanent buildings like residences and businesses and 50 metres for less significant features such as stockyards or burial places. This distance is to be prescribed by regulation; and
  • introducing the concept of restricted land to petroleum tenements for the first time. Currently, low-impact petroleum exploration activities can be conducted on land without the consent of the landholder where those activities are at least 600 metres from an occupied residence or school. This regime has been replaced in the Common Provisions Act by the 'restricted land' provisions, a significant change for the petroleum industry which previously did not require consent to access these types of areas.

Land Access

Land access provisions for public and private land have been migrated to the Common Provisions Act. There are subsets of these provisions that deal with various access requirements and landholders, for example: public land, private land and notifiable road use.

The key changes to the private land access framework include:

  • allowing parties, at the election of the landholder, to opt-out of negotiating a conduct and compensation agreement;
  • requiring a conduct and compensation agreement or opt-out agreement to be noted on the relevant property title; and
  • enabling the Land Court to make determinations on matters relating to conduct issues in relation to the negotiation of a conduct and compensation agreement.

These amendments have been harmonised across each of the resources statutes and migrated into the Common Provisions Act. We note that there remain alternative processes for MLs, mining claims and prospecting permits under the MR Act.

Dealings, caveats and associated agreements

The way in which dealings (such as transfers of ownership, mortgages and subleases), caveats and associated agreements are managed in Queensland was largely harmonised by the Mines Legislation (Streamlining) Amendment Act in 2012, where amendments were made to achieve consistency between the different resources statutes and to facilitate the online lodgement of applications.

The Queensland Government, through the Common Provisions Act, is now seeking to further standardise the approach to dealings, caveats and associated agreements by consolidating provisions across the five resources laws to deal with the following:

  • "prescribed dealings" which require registration prior to taking effect;
  • identifying when the Minister may or must not approve an application in respect of a dealing;
  • the process to make, amend or withdraw an application for a dealing, caveat or associated agreement;
  • the powers of the deciding authority in relation to an application for a dealing, caveat or associated agreement;
  • the keeping of the register, access to the register, supply of data and correction of the register;
  • information to be recorded on the register and maintenance of the register;
  • the introduction of a practice manual; and
  • the fees payable by an applicant to apply for the registration of a dealing, caveat or associated agreement on the register.

© HopgoodGanim Lawyers

Award-winning law firm HopgoodGanim offers commercially-focused advice, coupled with reliable and responsive service, to clients throughout Australia and across international borders.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions