Miners/landowners "balance of power" redressed in Queensland

Monday, 17 March, 2014

Quick one here from Australian Mining, bringing us the news that “the relationship between farmers and miners [in Queensland, Australia] may undergo significant change, with a bill to be tabled in the Queensland parliament this week offering greater protection to landowners.”

In the words of the article:

“The Regional Planning Interests Bill 2013 makes amendments to the ‘40-day rule’, removing the ability of miners to take landholders to the Land Court if an agreement cannot be reached within 40 days, or to automatically start a project after 40 days.

Under the new laws mining companies will have to demonstrate their efforts to negotiate in good faith with landholders, with no time limit on the period of negotiations.

Miners who cannot reach agreement will now need to apply to the Department of State Development Infrastructure and Planning to seek approval for their project.”

It’s hoped that this legislation will improve the balance of power between landholders and miners, empowering the former in a manner that balances out the fact that they’re not always resourced or set up to resist expensive legal action from the mining companies. 

"It removes the psychological lever that mining companies have held over landholders,” said Queensland deputy premier Jeff Seeney.

The new laws apparently gone down like a lead balloon with the domestic mining industry - unsurprisingly, given their efforts to date to block the changes.

Another take on this development is available here from Queensland Country Life.