SA to learn from interstate experience on land access

Land access process option to learn interstate lessons

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RIGHT PATH: Land Access Inquiry select committee chair Geoff Brock wants to find the best options for SA.

RIGHT PATH: Land Access Inquiry select committee chair Geoff Brock wants to find the best options for SA.

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South Australia has the opportunity to learn from other states when it comes to drafting regulations on land access for mining companies, according to National Farmers' Federation president Fiona Simson.

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South Australia has the opportunity to learn from other states when it comes to drafting regulations on land access for mining companies, according to National Farmers' Federation president Fiona Simson.

Ms Simson met with the Select Committee for the SA's Parliamentary Land Access Inquiry while in Adelaide this week, to present a submission from the national farming body.

The inquiry was convened in March this year to hear views on the process of land access for mineral exploration companies.

Ms Simson said other states were a "little further along in the process", which gave SA the chance to learn from their experiences.

Examples she gave were aquifer protection work and royalty policies, while NSW had established strategy precincts, that designated areas of priority, as well as creating templates for land access agreements that recognise the rights of the landholder.

Ms Simson said it was very important to get the "balance right" between resource companies and agriculture.

She also believed it was best if the department regulating mining activity and the one approving new mines were kept separate, to give landholders "somewhere to go" if anything went awry.

After NFF set its 2030 Roadmap, aimed at exceeding $100 billion in farmgate value in the next nine years, Ms Simson said there needed to be more certainty for primary producers.

Ms Simson herself has had experience with mining companies seeking land access in her farming region of the Liverpool Plains, NSW.

"In our community we felt very removed from the process," she said. "It was like a juggernaut happening and ag was not even considered."

She said it was great that SA was having these conversations and working towards a "transparent and genuinely consultative" process.

Select Committee chair Geoff Brock said Ms Simson gave a great insight into the national experience, which was the goal of the inquiry.

"We're not against resource opportunities and not against ag, we just want to make sure the state has the best processes and practices," he said.

"I want the best opportunities for ag and mining - they're both very important to the state's economy."

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Mr Brock said the Select Committee was meeting each Monday of Parliament sitting weeks, and would also be hearing from groups such as Primary Producers SA and the SA Chamber of Mines and Energy.

They will also head to regional areas later this month, starting in Wudinna on June 28, Tumby Bay on June 29 and Maitland on July 2.

"We want to talk to the people who have made the submissions, but also speak to the councils, as they're the ones who know what's going on in that region," he said.

They were also planning to visit the Far North, Mid North and South East in the future.

Mr Brock said although submissions were closed, if people still had an opinion, he encouraged them to email shannon.riggs@parliament.sa.gov.au.

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