The new Mining and Energy Resources (Common Provisions Bill) 2014 was passed by the LNP Government last week. It comes into force over the next month or so.
Whilst there has been much debate over the issue of removing rights to object to Mining Leases for landowners, some other nasty provisions have been added to the mix which landholders need to be wary of. Rural Lawyer Melanie Oliver explains the new “Opt Out Agreements” that have just been added into the already confusing world of resource company documents.
New Opt Out Agreements
An owner or an occupier of Land can now Opt Out of a Conduct and Compensation Agreement with a resource company. Once an Opt Out Agreement is signed, the resource company can enter the land and start its activities. It is very important to get advice on any documents that are presented by a resource company so that a landholder doesn’t give away their rights.
What can be written into an Opt Out Agreement?
We don’t know yet. The requirements of an Opt Out Agreement are going to be brought in by government in a new Regulation. This Regulation has not been written yet.
When can I get out of an Opt Out Agreement?
It depends on what the Opt Out Agreement says really. It might be that the Opt Out Agreement says that you have Opted out for a period of 2 or 10 years possibly. An Opt Out Agreement also ends when the resource company’s Tenement ends, or if another Conduct and Compensation Agreement or Deferral Agreement is signed later. There is also a 10 business day “cooling off” period for Opt Out Agreements.
This new type of agreement once introduced has the potential to confuse Landholders and there is concern that Landholders may inadvertently sign an Opt Out Agreement and then regret what they have done once the resource company starts work on the land. In our view it would be very rare for it ever to be appropriate for a Landholder to sign an Opt Out Agreement and we would urge Landholders to be very cautious and get full advice before signing anything they are presented.