This week the Qld Parliament's State Development, Infrastructure and Industry Committee is holding hearings from those who placed submissions to its inquiry into the Gasfield Commission Bill 2012.
Property Rights Australia made a submission and it can be found at the Committee’s webpage amongst 16 other submissions.
Following consultation with five other people I wrote the first draft of PRA’s submission and with the help of fellow board members Joanne Rea, Ashley McKay and also Bill Blake of McKays Solicitors it was tidied up to the finished product. BTW Ashley’s surname and the name of the firm that Bill works under is coincidental.
The following was my opening address to the committee at the hearing held at Parliament House in Brisbane on Wednesday. After the opening address the committee asked Bill Blake and myself questions about the submission.
Property Rights Australia represents the interests of landowners specifically the property rights of landowners.
The purpose of the GasFields Commission is stated in the Bill to manage & improve sustainable co-existence
Current legislation ensures an imbalance of power between Resource Authorities, Landowners and the Community. To date there have been problems with the agricultural industries and the CSG industries coexisting and friction created when trying to exercise the complexities of different parties having different rights over the same patch of ground.
Sustained Agriculture, Water and Community must be the GasFields Commission’s highest priority (or equal priority to that enjoyed by Resource Holders) if real co-existence is to be achieved.
If you the committee fulfil your role to define and enable the GasFields Commission to have a positive, constructive role, then the GasFields Commission will be better empowered to protect the interests of the State, Landowners and the community, particularly with respect to the critical importance of sustainable agriculture and water.
PRA strongly emphasises that the Bill gives the GasFields Commission a lot of power. Our recommended amendments will further increase that power.
Proper checks and balances must be maintained to protect the interests of all parties if real co-existence is to be achieved.
PRA are in principle opposed to a non judicial body having judicial powers. This opposition is compounded when there is no right of appeal through the common court system. This is based on practical experience of the Vegetation Management Act.
When considering PRA’s submissions, we request that the Committee consider that PRA’s recommendations are dependent upon one and other to provide proper checks and balances.