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From 27 September 2016, the Queensland Government has amended the Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Act 2014 (MERCP Act) and updated the Land Access Code to reflect the changes in legislation.
The amendments to the MERCP Act and the new Land Access Code dated September 2016:
Whilst some of the amendments made by the Queensland Government seek to address practical concerns faced by landholders, Emanate also urge landholders to be wary of other changes.
The Queensland Government has allowed landholders to elect to opt-out of negotiating a CCA. Landholders need to be aware that a landholder cannot be forced to enter into an Opt-out agreement with a mining / gas company. An Opt-out Agreement must also be accompanied by a special information form, be made in the prescribed form, subject to a ten (10) day cooling off period and do not negate a mining / gas company’s liability to compensate a landholder.
While the Queensland Government says this change is intended to ‘streamline the existing negotiation process’, Emanate strongly urges landholders consider entering into a CCA rather an Opt-out Agreement. A CCA ensures a landholder is adequately protected and provides certainty to the parties’ obligations and rights on the Land. It is important landholders be in a position to provide its consent based on full knowledge of the mining / gas company’s proposed work program and activities on the Land.
The new laws also require that Opt-out Agreements and CCAs be noted on title (similar to an easement on property title) and broaden the powers of the Land Court in circumstances when a CCA cannot be negotiated.
Access to private land by a mining / gas company requires experienced consideration, negotiation and balance of rights and interests of landholders and the mining / gas company. Should any landholders wish to discuss the new mining laws, Emanate is available to assist at your convenience.