Cows in a field, Qld AUS
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The framework is designed to manage and assess coal seam gas-induced subsidence.

Subsidence is sinking of the ground due to underground material movement, usually caused by the removal of water, oil, natural gas or mineral resources from the ground by pumping, fracking or mining activities.

The Queensland Government said it is also designed to help strengthen the coexistence framework for the agriculture and resource industries.

The legislation introduced to parliament is set to create a framework that assesses and manages the impact of coal seam gas-induced subsidence on agricultural land, and provides a pathway for landholders to be compensated if required.

Other coexistence reforms include:

  • Expanding the remit of the Office of Groundwater Impact Assessment to provide independent scientific advice, assessment and development of tools to help manage the impacts of coal seam gas-induced subsidence on agricultural land
  • Expanding the role of the Land Access Ombudsman to provide support to stakeholders on a broader range of land access disputes through an alternative dispute resolution pathway
  • The GasFields Commission Queensland will be given a wider remit and become known as Coexistence Queensland. Its role will be to provide enhanced information, engagement and education services to the community and industry on land access and coexistence issues across the resources and renewable energy sectors

The reforms are designed to build stronger relationships between resources, agriculture and other land uses and align with key focus areas outlined in the Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan.

In addition to the coexistence reforms, the legislation is designed to improve processes for assessing and administering resource authorities, and reduce the state’s financial risk from resource companies failing to comply with their environmental or rehabilitation obligations.

Queensland Resources and Critical Minerals Minister, Scott Stewart, said, “These reforms are the result of lengthy consultation across the resource and agriculture sectors and regional Queensland communities.

“As a government we are committed to a coexistence framework that encourages the resources industry to build and maintain strong and mutually beneficial relationships with landholders and all stakeholders. 

“While Queensland’s coexistence framework is strong, we are uncompromising in our commitment to seek avenues for further development and enhancement.

“Making sure resources companies work with farmers and landholders to address any potential impact of subsidence from coal seam gas production is important, and it is what these proposed laws will do.

“The reforms we’re introducing will enhance our coexistence framework for emerging industries like critical minerals and renewable energy and ensure that it meets the challenges posed by coal seam gas-induced subsidence.

“The roles and responsibilities of the GasFields Commission Queensland, the Office of Groundwater Impact Assessment and the Land Access Ombudsman will be clearly defined to address gaps or duplication in services currently provided by each institution,” Mr Stewart said.

Queensland Minister for Energy and Clean Economy Jobs, Mick de Brenni, said, “Ensuring local communities are the long term beneficiaries of the renewable energy transition is front and centre for the Queensland Government. 

“In a significant step to delivering all Queenslanders cheaper, cleaner and more secure power, the Queensland Government will establish Coexistence Queensland to work closely with communities, stakeholders and government.

“The establishment of Coexistence Queensland means key industry sectors, impacted communities, landholders and stakeholders will work together for a shared outcome to ensure Queensland is powered by 80 per cent renewable energy by 2035,” Mr de Brenni said.

Image: https://www.shutterstock.com/g/GekkoGallery

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