Concerns about the impact for landowners through the introduction of State Government’s controversial mining bill has seen independent MP and Member for Frome Geoff Brock introduce his own Bill for a Commission of Inquiry into the matter.
Mr Brock introduced the new Bill into Parliament last week to investigate land access regimes under the Mining Act 1971 and the Opal Mining Act 1995, the operation of the Department of Energy and Mining, in relation to such land access regimes, and for other purposes.
Under the Mining Bill, exploration would be allowed closer to homesteads – within 200m rather than the current 400m – and landowners faced fines for obstructing access.
“I have introduced this Bill to bring clarity to the State Government’s controversial mining bill, because no previous bill has been able to satisfy all parties,” Mr Brock said.
“The Bill for a Commission of Inquiry proposes that the inquiry be held away from politics and also that the commissioner be an independent person.”
Mr Brock said he had placed in the Bill the opportunity to look into the practices of not only interstate but also overseas jurisdictions and how they were able to achieve best practice and balance the rights of landowners and those who may seek access to explore for or extract mineral resources, with a view to creating a model of best practice.
“In the past few days I have had numerous calls from across all regional South Australia regarding the current situation, supporting this independent commission of inquiry,” Mr Brock said.
Mr Brock said he was seeking clarity for both the agricultural and mining sectors, the development of a best practice model and optimum outcomes for everyone involved.
“This bill will allay concerns from everyone in the mining industry – all this Bill asks for is that an independent inquiry into land access be established for the mining industry.
“I believe it is essential we protect our farmers and their industry and listen to their concerns about the lack of protection of South Australian arable land, which is reducing every year.”
Mr Brock said he was looking forward to getting bipartisan support for the Bill and hoped the Government would have it on the next sitting day of Parliament after the six-week winter break.