Changes to mines bill again 'on hold'

Changes to mines bill again 'on hold'


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MAKE A STAND: Fraser Ellis and Nick McBride, before they crossed the floor to vote against the Mining Act changes, pictured in front of a group of farmers who drove to watch the debate at Parliament House.

MAKE A STAND: Fraser Ellis and Nick McBride, before they crossed the floor to vote against the Mining Act changes, pictured in front of a group of farmers who drove to watch the debate at Parliament House.

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THE bill to amend the Mining Act 1971 has again been put "on hold".

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THE bill to amend the Mining Act 1971 has again been put "on hold" after the State Parliament was unable to agree to proposed changes negotiated by Mining Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan and four Liberal backbench MPs.

In November, Member for Narungga Fraser Ellis, Member for MacKillop Nick McBride, Davenport MP Steve Murray and Kavel MP Dan Cregan spectacularly crossed the floor in Parliament to vote with Labor for an adjournment of the Statutes Amendment (Mineral Resources) Bill.

There had been widespread criticism that the Liberal Party's bill closely resembled Labor's version presented at the same time the year prior, right in the middle of harvest.

At the time, Mr McBride said they wanted the government to take the time to further consult and negotiate with stakeholders on the bill and find a balance "where landowners have some rights and miners have obligations to meet and somehow work with farmers".

Since then, Mr McBride said they have had "very productive and respectful" discussions with the Mining Minister on the amendments, and although an agreement was reached, the compromises were not finalised.

"It's pretty widely known that four backbench MPs have been opposed to the mining bill, largely because it is a creation of Labor," he said.

"I don't know what happens now with the bill, but I do know I will always aggressively represent and advocate for my community."

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Mr Ellis was disappointed in the lack of progress after the negotiations, but said the issue was not going away.

"I have appreciated the good faith with which the Minister entered into negotiations for a compromise, and maintain the belief that freehold landowners and farmers need stronger rights," he said.

"I will continue to work with the Minister and stakeholders to achieve that."

Mr van Holst Pellekaan said he appreciated "direct, fair and respectful discussions with landowners".

"The mining bill was developed over more than two years and has undergone extensive consultation during which hundreds of submissions, proposals and opinions were received and thoroughly assessed," he said.

"It's unfortunate that the landholders will now miss out on the many benefits the bill contained for them."

Mr van Holst Pellekaan said the bill remained "on hold".

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