Land access explained
RESOURCE companies must comply with a single Land Access Code, provide landholders with detailed entry notices and negotiate a Conduct and Compensation Agreement with landholders before stepping onto their land, farmers have been informed.
A new land access laws information forum held on Wednesday, did little to assuage farmers as it outlined a graduated process of negotiation and dispute resolution in an attempt to keep compensation claims out of the Land Court.
Government agencies will also gain stronger compliance and enforcement powers.
But the new laws are not enough. According to AgForce vice president and chair of AgForce’s mining and resources taskforce, Ian Burnett, the new land access laws are a “step in the right direction” but do not address all issues facing farmers.
“There is still a lot of concern and angst surrounding the impact on landholders,” Mr Burnett said. “The new provisions provide a better balance for landholders, but there is still a way to go.
“I think it is imperative for the government to hold more information sessions after the number of questions raised today that went unanswered.”
Organised by the department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, the land access information forum attempted to clarify the new laws, Land Access Code and associated matters, including conduct and dispute resolution and compliance.
However, a majority of farmers left the session with more questions than answers, and glaringly absent was Environmental Protection Agency representation.
Anger levels intensified when DEEDI’s Central Region director of mines, Russell Dann, made it clear that coal seam gas exploration would not be discussed at the meeting, and revealed farmers must wait 12 months before the new laws come into affect.