Key Points

  • Consultation has now closed on the Department for Energy and Mining draft mining regulations, as part of changes to SA’s Mining Act.
  • Legislation to amend the Mining Act passed Parliament in October 2019, following heated debate.
  • Changes to the Mining Act were first floated in 2016 by the then Weatherill Government through the Leading Practice Mining Review.

Overview

GPSA has played a critical role in advocating for a better balance between agriculture and resources as part of the debate on the Statutes Amendment (Mineral Resources) Bill 2018, which went before Parliament. We believe the Bill leaves substantive issues unresolved for agriculture. As such, GPSA could not the support Bill in its current format and provided a comprehensive list of amendments to improve the Government’s legislation.

GPSA continues to seek a full independent review of laws governing mineral exploration and mining activity on agricultural land. An independent review is supported by stakeholders across industry including GPSA and the South Australian Chamber of Minerals and Energy (SACOME).

Mining Regulations 2020

Proposed draft regulations were released in three blocks throughout August 2020. These regulations include key issues for growers, including land access and exploration licences.

Through its input, GPSA continued to advocate for a better balance between competing land use interests. While the regulations must be consistent with the framework set out in the Act, GPSA believes that there is scope for these regulations to improve the process of exploration and resource extraction for landowners.

GPSA provided a comprehensive submission to the Department for Energy and Mining.

What changes to the Mining Act benefit farmers?

GPSA worked constructively with the Marshall Government, the SA Chamber of Mines and Energy, and other stakeholders. The agriculture sector was able to secure some incremental improvements to SA’s mining law, including:

  • 42 days’ notice for land entry will now be required from 1 January 2021,
  • Statutory compensation for legal advice on receiving a notice of entry has grown from $500 to $2,500,
  • A Landowner Information Service will commence from July 2020.

The Landowner Information Service will provide free, independent information to landowners, farmers and other rural community members on any exploration, mining or related activities that may affect them. This will provide a trusted information source for growers and regional landowners on mining and land access issues.

Why does GPSA want an independent review?

GPSA’s signature policy position on this issue is for an independent review into SA’s mining law to take place. The need for an independent review arises out of the dual role of the Department for Energy and Mining as both promoter and regulator of minerals and mineral access in SA.

This review should, among other things, thoroughly examine best practice land access frameworks in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia. An independent review is supported by stakeholders across industry including GPSA and the South Australian Chamber of Minerals and Energy (SACOME).

The Hon Geoff Brock MP has previously sought to establish a Commission of Inquiry into land access regimes and other provisions that deal with land access. GPSA welcomes these efforts.

GPSA recommends that any review consider aspects of mining law which do not neatly fall within the category of land access. Inter alia these include compensation, bonds, and a mandatory code of conduct.

How can growers contribute?

GPSA will continue to keep members updated on the mining related developments via our website: www.grainproducerssa.com.au