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    Minister for Natural Resources and Mines
    The Honourable Andrew Cripps

    Less red tape and easier access to water bores a win for landholders

    Minister for Natural Resources and Mines
    The Honourable Andrew Cripps

    Friday, May 03, 2013

    Less red tape and easier access to water bores a win for landholders

    The Newman Government has made it easier for decommissioned petroleum and gas wells to be converted into water supply bores for use by landholders.

    Landholders will also benefit from simpler, reduced red tape when managing vegetation in a watercourse, lake or spring.

    Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Andrew Cripps, said the Land, Water and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2013, passed in Queensland Parliament this week, will deliver a range of benefits to stakeholders across the natural resources and mining portfolio.

    “We are streamlining the process for converting petroleum wells to water bores and speeding up their transfer to landholders,” Mr Cripps said.

    “Landholders will now have ready access to water supply without having to pay for an expensive water bore to be drilled.”

    Mr Cripps said the conversions will apply to petroleum wells where drilling of the well commenced on or after 1 January 2012, or the well was decommissioned on or after 1 January 2012.

    “CSG wells drilled or decommissioned after these dates were subject to a strict Code of Practice ensuring long-term well integrity, containment of gas and the protection of groundwater resources,” he said.

    Mr Cripps said amendments in this Bill will also remove duplicative legislation relating to farmers’ efforts to manage vegetation in a watercourse.

    “Farmers need to regularly manage vegetation growing within watercourses to control weeds and prevent significant damage to river beds and vegetated banks when a flood occurs.”

    “These changes do not, as the Opposition and green groups are claiming, allow for indiscrimate clearing to occur within or near watercourses in sensitive Reef catchments.

    “The Vegetation Management Act 1999 protects all remnant vegetation growing in or near watercourses across Queensland and specifically provides 50 metre buffer zones in reef catchments.

    “Queensland landholders understand the importance of vegetation as part of maintaining the stability of a watercourse, and I am disappointed that the Opposition and their friends in the environment movement continue to disparage farmers ability to sustainably manage their land.”

    Mr Cripps said the Newman Government would also remove the link between national park acquisition and the rural leasehold land renewal process through repealing Future Conservation Area provisions from the Land Act 1994.

    “This will restore certainty for landholders and allay fears that good custodians of the land may have their lease acquired or reserved for future national park,” he said.

    “Landholders no longer need to fear that they are being disadvantaged for managing the land so well that it could be eligible to be locked up for conservation.

    “However, the removal of the future conservation area provisions does not restrict the Government’s capacity to assess conservation values of rural leasehold land.

    “The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection can still assess conservation values on rural leasehold land and negotiate a purchase price with the lessee to buy all or part of a lease for conservation purposes.”

    Other highlights of the Land, Water and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2013 include:

    ·         amending the Water Act 2000 to extend the stated period of all water licences until 30 June 2111, which will apply to the majority of new and existing licences to take or interfere with water

    ·         streamlining a number of transfer-related issues on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lands

    ·         removing the requirements for water entitlement holders proposing to undertake irrigation to prepare land and water management plans. 

    [ENDS] 3 May, 2013

    Media contact: Jane Paterson 0417 281 754 or Paul Sutherland 0428 868 237