Passage of Mining Bill ignores concerns from ag sector

Jul 04, 2019

Grain Producers SA is extremely disappointed farmers will not have fairer land access provisions when faced with mineral exploration on their land.

This follows the passage of the Statutes Amendment (Mineral Resources) Bill through the Lower House of South Australian Parliament late last night.

GPSA Chair Wade Dabinett said the Government’s decision to charge ahead with these changes means South Australia’s landholders will be saddled with some of the worst legal framework in the country which will put prime agricultural land at risk of destruction.

“The Government needs to take a long-term view on this, because agriculture is very much a long-term benefit for the state’s economy whereas mines have a finite lifespan,” he said.

Mr Dabinett said GPSA’s advocacy efforts will not stop with this vote and has vowed to continue to fight on behalf of landholders for fairer land access provisions which the current Bill fails to address.

“We will continue to call for an independent review of the Mining Act to be conducted completely separately from the Department for Energy and Mining,” he said.

“This review should, among other things, thoroughly examine best practice land access frameworks in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia.

“I note that the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy has also called for an independent review of the Mining Act, so it is imperative the Marshall Government listen to all stakeholders and establish an independent review.

“GPSA will continue to advocate for the need to balance agriculture with competing land uses such as mining, to protect the sustainability of agricultural production for future generations.”  

Mr Dabinett said GPSA’s advocacy has led to improvements to the Bill, including the establishment of an advisory service which will provide free, confidential and independent advice to farmers facing land access issues.

“This is something GPSA has long called for, ever since the previous government announced the Leading Practice Mining Acts Review in 2016,” he said.

“We are pleased to see the government adopt this recommendation from GPSA.

“Following our efforts, the notification period for land access will also increase from three to six weeks under this Bill.”

As part of its advocacy efforts, GPSA responded to the Department for Energy and Mining’s draft regulations concerning the land access regime, and provided feedback on the Mining and Resources Industry Land Access Dispute Resolution Code.

GPSA has also held a roundtable with SACOME which engaged national leaders from both the agricultural and mining sectors. This resulted in both GPSA and SACOME jointly calling for an independent review to be conducted into SA’s mining legislation.

Earlier this year, GPSA provided the Minister with a detailed policy document that seeks to find a way to better balance agriculture with competing land uses.

 

For media interviews contact Alistair Lawson, AgCommunicators, on 0448 400 606.


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