Crossbench seeks mining bill amendments

SA-Best, The Greens, to fight for landholder rights in mining bill debate


News
STANDING UP: SA-Best MLC Frank Pangallo will be seeking changes to the statute amendments to the Mining Act 1971 based on their consultation with Primary Producers SA, Grain Producers SA and the YP Landowners.

STANDING UP: SA-Best MLC Frank Pangallo will be seeking changes to the statute amendments to the Mining Act 1971 based on their consultation with Primary Producers SA, Grain Producers SA and the YP Landowners.

Aa

The statute amendments to the Mining Act 1971 are set to be debated in the Upper House next week with SA-Best and the Greens both proposing changes based on their consultation with landholders.

Aa

Any hopes the state's farmers may have of strengthening their rights against mining companies in the highly-contentious mining bill appear to rest with crossbench representatives in the Legislative Council.

Both the state government and opposition are expected to support a quick, smooth passage of the bill in the Upper House, despite it being a divisive issue in the Lower House where four Liberals voted against it.

RELATED:Renegade Liberals remain firm on balancing farmer, mining rights

Late last month, the Liberal Party's grassroot members - its state council - also voted to lobby the government to rescind the option for resource companies to take landowners to court to gain access to exempt agricultural land against the landowner's wishes.

Debate on the proposed legislation changes to the Mining Act 1971 are expected to begin next week.

SA-Best MLC Frank Pangallo says his party will be seeking amendments based on consultation with groups including Grain Producers SA and the Yorke Peninsula Landowners Group.

"The feedback we're getting is that farmers are upset that their rights are being trampled and they are not being heard by the Liberal government, which they have staunchly supported for many years," he said.

But Mr Pangallo says they are not seeking an extreme position such as giving a right of veto over mining on all agricultural land.

While they realise mining has the potential to intrude on their properties and impact their livelihoods and that of future generations, they (farmers) are simply wanting a fair go. - Frank Pangallo, SA-Best MLC

"While they realise mining has the potential to intrude on their properties and impact their livelihoods and that of future generations, they (farmers) are simply wanting a fair go," he said.

SA-Best's preferred position remains for a parliamentary select committee to examine the bill before it is voted on.

"The problem is that it is the former Labor government's bill that the current Liberal government is now proceeding with so there is no or little scrutiny and no or little quality work to develop it properly," Mr Pangallo said.

The Greens' Mark Parnell is also preparing amendments seeking to enable the whole community to have greater input into the approval of mining projects.

"Minerals are owned by the Crown, or really the community and until now the decision to access those minerals has been made by the minister and the department - ordinary folk have had few rights," he said.

Mr Parnell is particularly keen to see non-profit groups such as conservation groups being able to challenge projects on environmental grounds, as well as redress the balance of farming and mining.

"Who says that mining is always more important than farming?" he said.

"If we find a relatively common element and the life of the mine is only a few years should that be given priority over our farming land which will continue to produce for, in many cases, thousands of years."

Meanwhile, Member for Frome Geoff Brock is also hoping for some "robust debate" on his bill seeking an independent inquiry into mining land access which is on the agenda in the Lower House later this month.

"This is not saying that the current (mining) bill is good or bad, but an independent assessment to ag land that benefits all industries and will ensure the best processes are in place," he said.

"No one should have any fears, in fact it should allay fears to all parties including government, agriculture and mining and may create opportunities for the resources sector."

Mr Brock says it will also address fears about the Department of Energy and Mining being both the "promoter" and "regulator" of mining.

Mining Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan was contacted by Stock Journal for comment, but did not respond before deadline.

  • Start the day with all the big news in agriculture. Click here to sign up to receive our daily Stock Journal newsletter.
Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by