LANDHOLDERS can expect a comprehensive review of agricultural land use classifications, if a set of seven recommendations by the GasFields Commission Queensland are adopted by the state government.
The recommendations come in response to the Queensland Audit Office's performance audit report 'Managing coal seam gas activities' which called on the GFCQ to review the Regional Planning Interests Act to determine if existing processes adequately managed coal seam gas activities.
The GFCQ report specifically addressed the need to protect agricultural land and to provide improved guidance and information materials to explain the function and implications of the RPI Act and assessment processes for land owners.
GFCQ acting chief executive officer Warwick Squire said it was the first time the commission had undertaken such a comprehensive regulatory review and made recommendations to the state government as part of its legislative review function.
"The release of these recommendations clearly illustrate the commission is focused on enhancing the regulatory framework that protects Queensland's agricultural resources, whilst also helping provide Queensland's onshore gas industry a higher degree of certainty and accountability when undertaking activities on high-value agricultural land," Mr Squire said.
CLICK HERE to read the GFCQ's Review of the Regional Planning Interests Act 2014 Assessment Process Report.
AgForce CEO Mike Guerin said the GFCQ recommendations identified there was a need to further strengthen affected landholders' abilities to proactively negotiate agreements with resource companies.
"We need to ensure the protection of landholders' interests is fair and effective, including transparent compliance enforcement," Mr Guerin said.
"Ultimately, AgForce and its members are keen to address the challenges of coexistence of agriculture with the resource sector. But agricultural landholders must have equal representation, available resources, and bargaining power in negotiations around proposed developments affecting them."
Mr Guerin said AgForce had endorsed a range of land use protection principles that included taking a precautionary approach to alternative land uses and avoided negative impacts on existing or future sustainable agricultural opportunities.
A key issue will be the practical impacts of subsidence on farms and the need for certainty about how gas companies will avoid or 'make good' on any of these impacts, he said.
"We are also calling on the state government to ensure that the directional drilling of wells underneath a landholder's property only be authorised with the appropriate protections," Mr Guerin said.
Submissions close on November 26.
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