Landowner rights restored by the State, but now the Federal Government may have a go!
Late last year the State Government passed the MERCP Bill which took away the rights of various community groups, landowners and persons concerned. To put it simply the bill made it hard or impossible for anyone other than a directly affected landowner to object to an Application for a Mining Lease or an Environmental Authority. The bill was passed but never came into effect.
Minister Anthony Lynam, in his Charter Letter has certainly been making the right noises in regard to the position of the current government. The Charter commitment being to take necessary action to restore community rights to object to mining projects. Last month a Bill revoked s47D of the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 which restored objection rights to coordinated projects.
You will have seen this month that the Mackay Conservation Group were successful in their Federal Court Challenge against the federal approval for the Adani Project. The Federal Government now is making noises that they want to remove the legal right for persons other than those directly affected to object to approvals.
This knee jerk reaction by the Federal Government may cause the same problems and reaction that the removal of the rights at a state level caused. A landowner should be able to object to a coal mine if they are not directly affected by the Mining Lease but their Water Source is going to be impaired. A landowner should be able to object to a project if the dust impacts outside of the mining lease are going to cause health issues.
Hopefully the Federal Government reviews the consultations that took place when the Queensland government considers this issue. Landowners would be well advised to speak to their members and federal representatives about their concerns on this issue.