Environmental Protection (Underground Water Management) and other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 (EP Bill)

The EP Bill was introduced to Queensland Parliament 13 September 2016 by the Honourable Dr Steven Miles, Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef.

The EP Bill proposes amendments to the Environmental Protection Act (Qld) 1994 (EP Act) and Water Act (Qld) 2000 (Water Act) to strengthen the effectiveness of the environmental assessment and ongoing management of underground water extraction by resource projects.

Of particular importance to Landowners, the EP Bill sets out a scheme whereby underground water use by a mining licence holder, must be included in an application for an environmental authority under the EP Act, rather than an application for a water licence under the Water Act.

The new scheme will involve:

  • significant additional assessment of environmental impacts;
  • public notification requirements;
  • being subject to submissions and third party objections; and
  • review and appeal rights.

Queensland Parliament Agriculture and Environment Committee (Committee)

The Queensland Legislative Assembly has established eleven (11) parliamentary committees to assist the Queensland Parliament operate more effectively, investigate issues and report back to Parliament.

The Committee was established by the Queensland Legislative Assembly in March 2015 to (amongst other things):

  • Examine Bills to be enacted in relation to:
    • Agriculture, fisheries, sport and racing;
    • Environment and heritage protection; and
    • National parks and the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Consider the lawfulness of legislation.

Committee Report: Environmental Protection Amendment Bill

The EP Bill was referred to the Committee for review and reporting to the Queensland Parliament.

Committee Findings

The Committee has:

  • reviewed and delivered its findings in the attached report in relation to the EP Bill; and
  • recommended that the EP Bill be passed and the Minister examine:
    • the impact on relevant mining licence holders’ short term prospects;
    • the resulting impacts on affected communities; and
    • present findings in the Bill’s second reading speech.

Proposed Way Forward

In light of the Committee’s findings, Emanate considers the Bill will be passed in its present form.

It is anticipated the EP Bill will commence 6 December 2016.

Should any landholders wish to discuss, Emanate is available to assist at your convenience.

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