Legislation passed by Parliament today will help the resources sector keep driving Queensland’s economic recovery by confirming the validity of more than 900 historical mining tenures.
Resources Minister Scott Stewart told Parliament that the Resources and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 would clarify some minor administrative aspects of mining and petroleum leases.
Mr Stewart said the legislation passed today clarified those leases were valid, and always had been valid.
“The legislation will provide certainty to stakeholders and ensure existing rights and interests are maintained,” he said.
“Over the past year of the pandemic, the resources sector has continued to employ an average of almost 80,000 Queenslanders and provide critical business opportunities for suppliers, particularly in our regional communities.
“The Parliament has ensured the resources companies that hold these tenures can continue to operate with confidence.”
Parliament also approved amendments that allow petroleum production leases to continue in force until a decision is made on renewing them.
“If a company has applied to renew a production lease before it expires, the lease remains valid while a decision is made on the renewal,” Mr Stewart said.
Additionally, the Bill continues four authorities to prospect, and their production lease applications, in the Lake Eyre Basin.
The Government has committed to consulting on how an appropriate balance of environmental and economic considerations can be achieved in the Basin.
Under current legislation, these ATPs would expire on November 1, along with the production lease applications.
“These amendments give government the time to make decisions without putting any additional onus on government to approve applications,” Mr Stewart said.
The Bill also contained amendments deferring statutory position legislation.
The independent Commissioner for Resources Health and Safety has established a working group to work through matters raised by a number of medium-tier coal mining companies, regarding the implementation of these provisions.
The amendments also give South East Queensland distributor-retailers, Unitywater and Urban Utilities, water restriction investigation and enforcement powers equivalent to those available to local government water service providers.
Combined, Unitywater and Urban Utilities service nearly 2 million people across Moreton Bay, Sunshine Coast, Noosa, Brisbane, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim, and Somerset local government areas.
“The changes mean the rules for investigation and enforcement for those suspected of not complying with mandatory water restrictions will be the same across all providers in the region” Mr Stewart said.
The legislation will also ensure the safety of Queensland’s water security by helping to protect the state’s water service providers against potential malicious cyber security attacks. The amendments enable highly sensitive cyber security information to not be made publicly available where cyber criminals can access it.