26 November 2021
Recommendations give landowners a voice
It took a while, but finally, Member for Frome Geoff Brock MP won his bid to begin the process of protecting South Australian landowners’ rights through the establishment of a Parliamentary Select Committee.
“Despite previous attempts by the Minister for Energy and Mining, the Hon Dan van Holst Pellekaan to squash my Bill and the select committee or have its findings buried deep in the Parliament Sitting Program, the report has now been presented to Parliament,” Mr Brock said.
Mr Brock first introduced a Bill into Parliament in July 2019 which would protect land access rights of landowners against the mining industry, but the matter was deferred and then subsequently defeated a year later.
“I introduced the Bill to bring clarity, because no previous Bill had been able to satisfy all parties and I was asking for a Commission of Enquiry,” Mr Brock said.
“The Bill would have provided an opportunity to investigate best practice at a national and international level, while at the same time balancing the rights of landowners and exploration, and I was disappointed when it was defeated by a Government majority.”
Unwilling to give up, Mr Brock then asked for a Select Committee be established to look at the issue.
The Select committee on the land access rights of landowners against the mining industry was finally established in March this year with Mr Brock as its chair and has now delivered its final report.
The Government will now consider the report and Mr Brock hopes it will implement the six recommendations.
The select committee heard from several parent bodies, including the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy, Grain Producers SA and other associated entities.
“We received 36 written submissions and heard oral evidence from 45 witnesses over the course of 11 hearings,” Mr Brock said.
‘The Select Committee has recommended measures to achieve a best practice model in South Australia which balances the rights of landowners and those seeking to access the land to explore for or exploit minerals, precious stones and so on – and that should only be seen as a positive outcome for all stakeholders.
“The Select Committee has also forwarded a letter to the Ombudsman to investigate the manner in which the Department of Energy and Mining has addressed complaints of breaches of the Mining Act 1971, ensuring any possible breaches beyond the Committee’s scope are appropriately and independently investigated.”
The final report is available to read on Mr Brock’s website: www.geoffbrock.com.au