All quiet on western front over mining and gas project bill

IT IS the critical document designed to govern how and when mining or gas projects are allowed on prime farming or protected environmental land, but so far nobody is talking about it.

Since being released for public discussion in mid-November, the Regional Planning Interests Bill is yet to receive a single submission from any person, group or company.

When in place, the laws will decide how key regional areas in Central Queensland and the Darling Downs handle resource companies keen to either explore or develop in conflict with what is already there.

Under the proposed legislation, these "proposed resource activities" would require a specific approval or regional planning authority to encroach on these critical parcels of land.

However, the laws allow for a number of exemptions.

If the company can score approval by the land owner, is an already-operating project or a particularly small operation, this specific approval may not be needed.

Resources companies could also develop inside key farming or environmentally-important areas if they can limit their operation to a single year.

The need to build, operate, dismantle then rehabilitate in 12 months would be too much for almost any project.

All projects would still be scrutinised under environmental legislation, just not require a regional authority to go ahead.

State Development Committee Chair and member for Gympie David Gibson is to consider the proposed laws in detail when submissions close next month.

He said he all affected industries and regional Queenslanders ought to be heard on this.

"One of the outcomes of the bill is to reduce land conflicts between agriculture and resource sectors," Mr Gibson said.

"We're really keen to hear from people on both sides.

"I think regional Queenslanders would be interested in this bill and I would encourage them all to look at it.

To learn more, visit http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-committees/inquiries and click on the "Regional Planning Interests Bill 2013".


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