Legal development

New Land Access Code – besides coexistence principles, not much has changed 

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    Key insights

    • The new Land Access Code 2023 was released in June 2023. The most substantial change was the introduction of the coexistence principles.
    • However, a number of minor changes have been made to update the Code with recent developments and otherwise make it more user-friendly. These include the removal of references to initial property visits, the inclusion of a definition of conduct and compensation agreements, and an explanation of the mandatory conditions.

    New Land Access Code

    In June 2023, the Department of Resources released the Land Access Code 2023, made under section 36 of the Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Act 2014 (Qld). This is the first update to the Land Access Code since 2016.

    Primarily, the revised version of the Land Access Code incorporates the new coexistence principles in accordance with Action 23 of the Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan. These are discussed in greater detail in the Queensland Land Access and Resource Approvals Year in Review 2023 article, "Review of coexistence institutions and other proposed land access reform".

    Corresponding changes have also been made to the supporting document, A guide to land access in Queensland, also published by the Department of Resources.

    The Land Access Code 2023 has removed the reference to early contact and arranging a property visit from the section on general communication. While early contact remains part of the Code under the new coexistence principles, visits appear to have been removed.

    The Land Access Code 2023 has removed reference to a requirement for landholder sign-off for rehabilitation under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld). This is because of the substantial changes to rehabilitation and financial provisioning laws since the previous version of the Code in 2016.

    No changes were made to the mandatory conditions. However, an explanation of the mandatory conditions has been included in the Land Access Code 2023 to assist both resource authority holders and landholders in understanding the importance of the mandatory conditions where they apply.

    The Land Access Code 2023 now clarifies that resource authority holders must provide a copy of the key contact list to landholders when they provide them with a copy of the Code. The Department has also removed the key contact list from the Code, instead linking to an informational webpage.

    Other than the above, the majority of the changes between the 2016 and 2023 versions of the Land Access Code are to make the document more user-friendly. For example, many of the references to legislation have been removed.

    Author: Martin Doyle, Lawyer.

    The information provided is not intended to be a comprehensive review of all developments in the law and practice, or to cover all aspects of those referred to.
    Readers should take legal advice before applying it to specific issues or transactions.


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