On 23 February 2016, the Mineral and Other Legislation
Amendment Bill 2016 (Bill) was introduced to
the Queensland State Parliament.
The Bill is consistent with the Government's election
promise to reinstate broader community objection rights that were
proposed to be limited under the Mineral and Energy Resources
(Common Provisions) Act 2014 (Qld) (MERCP
Act) enacted under the previous Government.
repeals those parts of the MERCP Act that have not yet taken
effect limiting the broader community's rights to object to
includes key agricultural infrastructure in the definition of
'restricted land' and prescribes the distance thresholds
for restricted land
removes the ability for mining leases to be granted over
restricted land where landholder consent has not been given and
compensation has not been agreed
removes the Minister's power to extinguish restricted land
for mining lease applications where coexistence is not
If the Bill is enacted, existing public notification
requirements and objection rights for standard or variation
applications for environmental authorities for mining activities
will be retained. Mining lease applications will be required
to be publicly notified in an approved newspaper, so notification
is not limited to directly affected persons. The changes mean
any entity can object to a mining lease application under the
Mineral Resources Act 1989 (Qld) (MR Act)
on the existing grounds set out in the MR Act.
Under the MERCP Act, the grounds for objection were to be
limited. For example, the Land Court would not have had to
take into account and consider whether the applicant has the
necessary financial and technical capabilities to carry on mining
operations under the proposed mining lease.
Not all of the changes enacted by the previous Government are
proposed to be repealed. Importantly, the Land Court will
still have the express power to strike out all or part of an
objection, to the extent it is outside the jurisdiction of the Land
Court, frivolous or vexatious or otherwise an abuse of process.
The changes proposed by the Bill mean the potential costs and
delays associated with environmental activism remain a significant
risk to mining project proponents. The broader community,
including fully funded community interest groups, will retain
rights of objection to the Land Court.
The objection hearing process in the Land Court can be costly
and lengthy. The Land Court will have express power to strike
out objections. However, the onus is on proponents to apply
to the Court and satisfy the Court an objection is beyond
jurisdiction, frivolous or vexatious or an abuse of process.
To mitigate the risk associated with potential environmental
activism, proponents must adopt a proactive approach,
monitoring social media to identify potential risks
ensuring their social media strategy addresses the risks
working closely with regulators during the assessment and
approval processes to minimise exposure to judicial review
proceedings or other third party actions
engaging and consulting the community, indigenous and other
stakeholders early in the process.
This publication does not deal with every important topic or
change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute
for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's
specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of
interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice
relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named
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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.
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