Coexistence between agriculture and resource sectors enters new era

JOINT STATEMENT
  • Legislation has been passed to strengthen coexistence between agriculture, resources and renewable sectors.
  • The GasFields Commission Queensland will now be called Coexistence Queensland with a new and expanded remit
  • Office of Groundwater Impact Assessment and Land Access Ombudsman will have expanded roles

Queensland parliament has passed legislation that will strengthen coexistence between the state’s resources, agriculture and renewable energy industries.

The reforms include expanding the remit of Queensland’s coexistence institutions including the GasFields Commission Queensland which will now be known as Coexistence Queensland.

Coexistence Queensland’s expanded role will be to provide enhanced information, engagement and education services to the community and industry on land access and coexistence issues across the resources and renewable energy sectors. Previously this institution’s focus was just on the onshore gas industry.

Other coexistence reforms include:

  • expanding the remit of the Office of Groundwater Impact Assessment (OGIA) to provide advice, on request, to government entities on subsurface impacts from petroleum and gas activities.
  • expanding the role of the Land Access Ombudsman (LAO) to provide support to stakeholders on a broader range of land access disputes through an alternative dispute resolution pathway.

The legislation also includes amendments that are improving processes for assessing and administering resource authorities and reducing the state’s financial risk from resource companies failing to comply with their environmental or rehabilitation obligations.

The reforms will build stronger relationships between resources, agriculture and other land uses and align with key focus areas outlined in the Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan.

As stated by the Resources and Critical Minerals Minister Scott Stewart:

“Queensland’s coexistence framework has been strong, but we have never compromised on our efforts to making it stronger.

“This reform process started more than 18 months ago, and I want to thank everyone for working with us on these reforms.

“The expanded roles and responsibilities of Coexistence Queensland, the Land Access Ombudsman and the Office of Groundwater Impact Assessment are especially important, because it means any gaps or duplication of services have now been addressed.

“Because of its previous focus dealing with land access issues relating to the onshore gas industry, Coexistence Queensland is well placed to provide support to landholders engaging with renewable energy companies, and other types of resources companies, that are seeking access to their land.

“The decision has also been made to do more consultation on the subsidence management framework to ensure stakeholders can provide more feedback.”

As stated by Minister of Energy and Clean Economy Jobs Mick de Brenni:

“Queensland is leading the nation in the development of world leading practice when it comes to coexistence.

“Working with communities is at the heart of our clean economy transition, and the Miles Government is committed to ensuring we listen and work with locals and landholders.

“Coexistence Queensland is an expansion of our highly successful GasFields Commission and will be a trusted independent body to support the valuable partnerships between the state’s resources, agriculture, and renewable energy industries.

“The clean energy transition presents a once in a generation opportunity for landholders, and agriculture and resource businesses. By working together, we can achieve fantastic outcomes for all.”

As stated by Coexistence Queensland CEO Warwick Squire:

“We’re excited our remit will expand to address coexistence matters across the broader energy and resources under our new name Coexistence Queensland.

“Coexistence Queensland will play a key role in connecting landholders, community, industry and government to work and thrive together.

“It’s about ensuring industry development occurs in a socially responsible and sustainable way, with the interests of community at its core.”

/Public Release. View in full here.