New Kingaroy Land Access Framework

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New Kingaroy Land Access Framework

Postby HVPA_research » Sun Dec 04, 2011 8:35 am

Links to this archived item:

* Archived information from the Lock The Gate Alliance mailing list *

New Kingaroy Land Access Framework

This is a second post dealing with the land access issues by mining companies on private land. The first one was The document was prepared by Kingaroy Concerned Citizens Group as a submissions to Queensland Government. These are eminently sane and reasonable proposals to make the relationships between corporations and local citizens more balanced and equitable. The area of the landholder rights has been always overshadowed by concerns about the damage to ground water by extensive drilling and fracking. Yet the damage to local communities and land values starts as soon as a resource companies applies for an exploration license while the damage to water may take decades to become apparent. The quote from Section 6 of the document below gives you a taste of the full submission. WELL WORTH READING!

The questions we have to ask ourselves is why these issues have not been addressed by the state governments already and why we had to wait for volunteers from Kingaroy? How does NSW compare to Queensland in this respect? Our own local experience with the Sydney Gas and with AGL so far shows that they have managed to fall into just about all the public relation pitfalls listed here. It is unlikely that the public relations culture of other explorers is much better if the recent approval process of the Warkworth Open Cut Mine towards Bulga is any any guide.

6 Other Suggested Changes and Inclusions

Biosecurity: Landholder biosecurity rights need to be a mandatory inclusion in the information package. It is not at the moment. Biosecurity control is a fundamental element of good farming.

Drilling Vs Soil Testing: The word ‘drilling’ does not appear in the text of the Land Access Code (Preliminary Activity) yet it is the primary type of activity carried out. This is misleading and lacks the transparency that the Code states as its aim. The text should read ‘soil testing by drilling”.

Compliance Checking: KCCG is not aware of the Qld Govt ever being physically present in the South Burnett to check that QBL’s activities and interactions with the local community have been compliant. Cougar Energy taught us that self regulation doesn’t work for the same reason that self reporting of traffic offences is not a very good idea. It is not the local communities task to check for compliance. The Government should periodically check for compliance and get feedback from local landholders.
Information Hubs: Regional Councils would be ideal local information hubs for Qld Govt projects with Local Govt implications. A full suite of information could be housed at these and other appropriate sites.

Cost: Any additional work and costs created by these proposals should be funded by the applicant as a standard part of the application fee. There are all considered fundamental elements in the process, and should not be considered as unnecessary expenses to be avoided by either the Government or the applicant company.

Support: Landholders need the technical and personal support of professionals. To whom does a landholder turn a Saturday morning when a drilling rigs sets up on your property unannounced as per the previous photo?

Coercion: It should be illegal for a company to coerce a landholder by using phrases such as “oh but all your neighbours have agreed”. This is a form of emotional blackmail. It is deeply resented by landholders. It should be checked for as a specific item when offices check for compliance.

Ambit Exploration Approvals:
Approval of exploration permits in residential and rural residential areas is unnecessary and inflames public opinion. Subsequent reassurances that exploration will not occur closer than 100m for a house and not in residential streets only confirm that approval was unnecessary in the first place. Landholders cannot be expected counsel themselves and others with advanced understanding of the Land Access Code if the information is not front and centre.
Explanation from DME officers of how the permits are blocks based on units of latitude and longitude are no excuse for poor practice. KCCG believes a more discretionary allocation of land for exploration has to be found, and it must omit residential areas in the first instance.

Cooling Off Period:
When buying a car, there is a mandatory cooling off period. Buying a car is a simple cognitive and emotional issue compared to a landholder contemplating a developed mining industry starting up either in the neighbourhood or on your land.

Despite assurances from Government and Mining Companies that a landholder should only consider exploration when an exploration permit is issued, this is a denial of the human condition for the convenience of the Government and Mining sector. Thoughtful landholders will always want to consider the full spectrum of possibilities when confronted with the threat of a quantum shift in lifestyle. Therefore, time parameters need to be built into the land access code that reflect the human condition rather than the urgency of miners.

The additional steps proposed in this submission do this to some extent. Under the existing arrangements, a mining representative can ring a landholder one day, meet with them the next, obtain consent, and drill just days after. This is hardly time to become fully informed in a complex issue and make an informed decision.

It is suggested that the following be used as a guide to allow time for communities to consider new proposals. It is based on 5 x 2 weeks activity blocks that align with the proposed new steps in the Land Access Code.

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