The Bill introduced into Queensland Parliament today by the Minister for Natural Resources and Mines improves access to the Land Court and puts some limits on mining near homes and infrastructure, but will even further erode the rights of landholders already being heavied by CSG companies.
Lock the Gate Alliance has called for the Mineral and Other Legislation Amendment Bill to be substantially changed to revoke all of the worst elements that were initially put forward by the Newman Government.
Lock the Gate’s National Campaign Coordinator, Carmel Flint said the amendments were needed to protect farmers from bullying and intimidation by mining giants, and to protect food-growing areas and the health of families forced to live near coal and gas developments and infrastructure.
“The Bill introduced by Minister Lynham today takes the final step in fully reinstating the rights of the community to challenge mining projects through the Land Court, and that is a positive measure,” Ms Flint said.
“It also puts some hard restrictions on mining near homes and infrastructure, but unfortunately the limited distances of the setbacks (from 50m to 200m) are completely inadequate to prevent impacts on families and farming businesses.
“The real concern here is that despite the weak laws that are already putting undue pressure on farmers forced to deal with CSG companies, this Bill dramatically reduces the protections available to them on a number of counts.
“It allows CSG companies to sign landholders up to ‘opt-out agreements’ which would see vulnerable people unknowingly signing away their rights to negotiate a Conduct and Compensation Agreement.
“This is an outrageous step that gives CSG companies even more power over the ordinary folks that are forced to deal with them invading their properties and their communities.
“The Bill also removes existing rights that landholders had to negotiate with CSG companies who sought to conduct activities within 600m of their homes.
“Lock the Gate is staunchly opposed to any law changes that reduce the rights and protections of ordinary Queenslanders up against the power and money of the CSG industry.
“We are astonished that the State Government would propose to erode current protections for landholders when it is clear that the system is already heavily skewed against them.
“We fear for the well-being of farmers who will be caught by a system that is even more damaging then the one that is already causing extreme harm in its current form.