Loss of Objection & Appeal Rights
Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Act. 2014
Background to the issue:
Mining and Energy projects often have significant impacts on the business operations of neighbouring rural landholders, the social fabric of nearby communities and the social and environmental attributes valued by third parties and public interest groups.
All stakeholders previously had rights to object to proposed mining and energy projects; and the right for their claims to be heard by an independent party - the Land Court.
The passing of the Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Bill – including key late amendments that were not made public - removed or severely curtailed many of those objection and appeal rights.
Queensland legislation is now strongly biased in favour of the mining and energy resources sector. It is neither fair, nor equitable nor just.
Impacts of Newman Government's Actions:
Whereas the Land Court was previously obliged to hear objections and appeals, the Court may now strike out objections to mining leases or applications for environmental authorities.
Furthermore, the above-mentioned last minute amendments to the Common Provisions Bill confirm that the grounds for an objection to any conditions imposed specifically by the Queensland Coordinator General relating to an Environmental Authority (EA) or an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) cannot specifically relate to any condition imposed by the Coordinator-General, if the Coordinator-General is satisfied the conditions adequately address the environmental effects of the mining, gas or petroleum activity.
Given it is the role of the Coordinator-General to set conditions, the net effect of these amendments is that there cannot be any objection or appeal for a Land Court hearing in relation to the EA or EIS by a third party, beyond those bought by the affected landholder and/or immediate neighbours.
Desired Policy Changes:
The stakeholders in the Channel Country call for the re-instatement of a statutory framework that:
- allows the general public , Local Government, landholders and the State’s broader community who have an interest in the sustainable management of the State’s natural resources, to be able to lodge objections and appeals to development approvals and associated conditions; and,
- to have their views dealt with fairly and with respect and integrity.