AMSJ » Landholder compensation law reforms tips scales

Landholder compensation law reforms tips scales

landholder compensation agreements
New landholder compensation agreement laws tip the scales towards landholders

Queensland landholders can be reimbursed for out of pocket expenses incurred in negotiating conduct and compensation agreements with a resource company – as of April 19th – regardless of whether or not an agreement is reached.

Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said previously landholders only received compensation if an agreement was reached.

New laws acknowledge that negotiation is part of a business transaction and landholders should be compensated accordingly.

“Queensland has the country’s most robust land access framework, and these reforms further enhance the fairness and the rights of landholders while balancing economic opportunities that the State’s resources industry provides,” Dr Lynham said.

“Previously, if a landholder commenced negotiations with a resource company and for whatever reason no agreement was reached, the landholder could have incurred expenses for services such as legal, accounting, valuation or agronomy without being entitled for reimbursement.

“Now even if no agreement is reached, landholders can claim all reasonable costs.

Key reforms commencing today will mean Queensland landholders:

  • may claim legal, accounting, valuation and agronomist costs that are reasonably and necessarily incurred in negotiating a conduct and compensation agreement with a resource company – whether or not an agreement is reached;
  • don’t have to pay for the costs of an alternative dispute resolution facilitator to help negotiate a conduct and compensation agreement and
  • may, by agreement with a resource company, attend arbitration rather than go to the Land Court for a decision on any dispute about a conduct and compensation agreement that remains unresolved.

Landholder compensation welcomed by Agforce

AgForce Chief Executive Officer Michael Guerin said it was vitally important that landholders negotiating with resource companies for access to their land are well-informed about what activities are proposed and the implications of those activities for their business, so that they can negotiate an acceptable and effective land access agreement.

“AgForce supports these amendments that enable a landholder to secure the advice of a qualified crop or pasture agronomist on the implications for their production system, in addition to reasonable costs already covered by the resource company,” Mr Guerin said.

“We also welcome the greater certainty for affected landholders in the clarification that the resource authority holder is liable to pay a landholder’s negotiation and preparation costs where the resource company abandons negotiations. This will remove a significant source of uncertainty and stress for landholders in these circumstances.”

Dr Lynham said the reforms were the result of extensive landholder and industry feedback and an independent review into the Gasfields Commission.

View the land access laws.

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AMSJ April 2022