Members’ Newsletter – 21st October 2014
Strategic Cropping Land Trigger Maps (Queensland)
On the 9th October additional strategic cropping land zones were announced which the Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney says will protect a much larger area of valuable farming land (including grazing land ) in Queensland and offered protections under the new Regional Planning Interests Act 2014.
“Should a landholder not agree to a proposed resource activity on this newly added SCL, the resource company will need to go through a Regional Interest Assessment process, ending the prospect of landholders being taken to the Land Court after 40 days.” The full announcement can be found here:
The new proposed SCL trigger mapping can be requested on-line via the following link:
Landholders simply fill in their Lot and Plan number and email address where indicated and submit. The maps will be provided to your email address within a few minutes. If you have trouble clicking and accessing the link, simply copy the above link and then paste on-line in the web address.
Field technicians(presumably from the DNRM) are yet to “ground truth” the proposed SCL trigger maps which could see minor changes before the December deadline to implement the additional areas.
The updated mapping may be of benefit though particularly for those currently in negotiations with the Resource Sector.
Galilee Basin State Development Areas Public Parliamentary Hearing
was held in Brisbane on the 15th October. Submissions for the proposed railway line for the sole purpose of freighting coal for private resource companies can be viewed on the following link with transcripts for the hearings available shortly on the same link:
A response on the hearing is due by the 29th October which is consistent with the short time frames we have come to expect of the current Government.
There were some significant concerns raised including :bullying tactics ,compulsory acquisition discussions appeared threatening, loss of the ability to negotiate on a commercial basis with the private resource company, confidentiality agreements that landholders had thought prevented them from appearing at the hearing which The Committee Chairman said was not the case, as landholders would be afforded parliamentary privilege or have their submissions heard privately and kept in confidence to allow full and thorough feedback which through lack of information had prevented some landholders appearing as witnesses, experience with the Deputy Premier had not been professional, unpaid time, unpaid legal fees, substandard compensation offers both now and throughout the 90 year project, imbalance of power between the resource sector and the agricultural industry, progression dates for projects had not been indicated, landholders were left in limbo, sunset clauses were requested to ensure the SDA was revoked if a suitable timeframe(eg some suggested 4 years) for resource development had not occurred/ surveying detailed as occurring after construction/ no consultation/significant distances required to travel to receive consultation/unrealistic timeframes to respond in regard to the SDA proposal/unrecognised loss of production and devaluation/personal stress/some landholders had been in discussions with two resource companies for 6-7 years.
David Stolz representing the Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning who appeared as the final witness placed these matters under 6 headings when addressing the committee which consisted of 6 Members of Parliament plus the Chairman David Gibson (Member for Gympie).
- Duration of SDA (eg. Sunset Clauses or revocation)
- Location of the SDA (Flooding issues/Agricultural Impact/Location near houses)
- Consultation (reducing impacts/out of 74 impacted landholders the department only had direct contact details for mid 50 landholders /there was not a stakeholder management plan with timeframes/David Stolz said it was possible but unlikely that the rail would ever be used for anything other than the transport of coal )
- Health and Well-Being (Stress was a common theme experienced by landholders)
- Compensation (David Stolz said the Deputy Premier had advised his Department that landholders affected by the railway line would be paid a commercial rate under the Acquisition of Land Act although landholders raised concerns that the negotiation process would be lopsided once resumption occurred)
The Negotiation Process under the SDA was described as follows:
- Proponents negotiating/consulting with landholders
- Justification Report was then presented to the Co-Ordinator General detailing Interactions with all landholders which was a very comprehensive view of efforts to consult with individual landholders. Consultation had to be found to be comprehensive in order for the Co-Ordinator General to approve the SDA.(It was unclear if an objection process was available at this point to the landholder- so this needs to be asked of the landholder contact Scot Taylor from Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning)
- Notice of Intention to Resume (NIR) (Under the Acquisition of Land Act 1967) could only be issued once the Co-Ordinator General was satisfied that all consultation was adequate and comprehensive.
- Under the Acquisition of Land Act, Landholders would then have the right to object to the NIR if they did not believe their issues had been addressed during the consultation process and it is important to ask in writing for a hearing to have their issues heard. Compensation can not be used as a reason to object to the NIR.
- Surveying was detailed as occurring after Construction. I do not believe either construction or surveying could occur unless mutually agreed prior to the Resumption occurring through the NIR process. This should be a point to discuss with your legal expert.
The Parliamentary Hearing Committee said they were to report to the Parliament on their findings, not to the Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney.
Landholders are advised to keep good written records of consultation and negotiations, so that if matters are not properly addressed they have good grounds to object to the Notice of Intention to Resume.
Should we fear the panda?
WWF’s involvement in the beef industry is continuing to be attempted to be legitimised from some quarters. This opinion article from PRA was published in yesterday’s Beef Central edition.
Dale Stiller, Chairman
Property Rights Australia
Phone: 07 49213430
STAND YOUR GROUND