Bill tabled in Parliament on 31 July 2019 by the Hon. Geoff Brock MP in response to ongoing landowner opposition to Liberal’s Mining Bill
As promised, the Hon. Geoff Brock (Independent MP for Frome) has introduced into the Lower House of Parliament a Bill calling for an independent Commission of Inquiry into land access as it relates to the mining industry. This Bill provides for the establishment of an independent inquiry into the land access provisions of the Mining Act – a move consistently rejected by the Liberal Government, despite strong support from the agricultural sector.
YPLOG believes this Bill provides our best opportunity at this stage to achieve stronger stronger protections for SA’s agricultural land against the intrusion of exploration and mining activities in this state.
Key aspects of the Bill
1.Terms of Reference
- a. to inquire into land access regimes;
- b. to inquire into such operations of the Department of Energy and Mining as may relate to, or be affected by, land access regimes;
- c. to inquire into the practices of interstate and overseas jurisdictions as they relate to balancing the rights of landowners and those seeking to access land in order to explore for or exploit mineral resources;
- d. to inquire into administrative and legislative options that may help achieve a best practice model in South Australia that balances the rights of landowners 35 and those seeking to access land to explore for or exploit mineral resources.
2. Who will conduct the Inquiry
The commission to be constituted by a retired Justice of the Supreme Court or Federal Court appointed by the Attorney-General with the approval of both Houses of Parliament.
3. Taking of evidence
In conducting the inquiry, the Commissioner must take evidence in public or, if judged to be in the public interest, conduct any part of the proceedings (including the taking of evidence) in private.
4. Date for completion of inquiry and presentation of report
The Inquiry must be completed before 30 November 2021
A copy must be delivered to the Attorney General and the Minister [for Energy and Mining].
Within 6 sitting days after receiving the report, the Attorney General must cause a copy of the report to be laid before each House of Parliament.
5. Response of Minister
(a) Within 3 months after receipt of the report by the Attorney General, the Minister must make a preliminary response indicating which (if any) of the inquiry’s recommendations are intended to be carried out; and
(b) Within 6 months after receipt of the report, make a full response stating—
- (i) the recommendations that will be carried out and the manner in which they will be carried out; and
- (ii) the recommendations that will not be carried out and the reasons for not carrying them out; and
(c) Each year for the 5 years following the full response, the Minister must, within 3 months after the end of the year, make a further response stating—
- (i) the recommendations that have been wholly or partly carried out in the relevant year and the manner in which they have been carried out; and
- (ii) if, during the relevant year, a decision has been made not to carry out a recommendation that was to be carried out, the reasons for not carrying it out; and
- (iii) if, during the relevant year, a decision has been made to carry out a recommendation of the Commissioner that was not to be carried out, the reasons for the decision and the manner in which the recommendation will be carried out and
(d) a copy of each response must be laid before each House of Parliament within 6 sitting days after it is made.
What happens next
Now that the Bill has been tabled, there will be a delay before it is listed for debate in the House of Assembly. Listing is unlikely to occur until after Parliament resumes on 10 Sept. 2019, following its long winter break.
The Hon Geoff Brock has called for bipartisan support for his Bill, citing the broad support from numerous stakeholders – including SA Chamber of Mines and Energy (SACOME) and Grain Producers SA – for an independent review (such as this) into the State’s mining legislation.