Navigating the Land Access Code

Navigating the Land Access Code

Land access is a crucial issue for landholders in Queensland, especially when it comes to negotiating access agreements with resource companies. The Queensland Government’s Land Access Code provides guidance and standards for resource companies and landholders engaging in land access activities.

What is the Land Access Code?

The Land Access Code sets out the principles and requirements for negotiating access to private land for resource activities, including exploration, extraction, and infrastructure development. It aims to ensure that land access activities are conducted in a manner that minimises impacts on landholders, the environment, and communities while promoting transparency and fairness in negotiations.

Key Provisions of the Land Access Code

The code outlines several key provisions that resource companies and landholders must adhere to when negotiating access agreements. These provisions include requirements for:

  • Conducting negotiations in good faith and with transparency.
  • Providing adequate notice to landholders before accessing land.
  • Respecting landholder rights and interests, including property rights, privacy, and cultural heritage.
  • Minimising impacts on land, water, and vegetation through responsible environmental management practices.
  • Compensating landholders for any loss or damage resulting from access activities, including disturbance to land, infrastructure, and business operations.

Negotiating Agreements

Landholders have the right to negotiate access agreements with resource companies that reflect their interests and protect their property rights. The Land Access Code provides broad guidance on negotiating fair and equitable agreements, including considerations such as compensation, access conditions, environmental protections, and dispute resolution mechanisms.

Environmental Considerations

The Land Access Code emphasises the importance of addressing environmental and cultural considerations when conducting activities. Resource companies are required to conduct thorough environmental assessments, implement mitigation measures to minimise impacts, and consult with Indigenous communities to protect cultural heritage values.

Compliance and Enforcement

The Queensland Government oversees compliance with the Land Access Code and is said to have mechanisms in place to enforce its provisions. Landholders who believe that resource companies have breached the code can seek assistance from government agencies or take legal action, including through the Land Court to resolve disputes.

For landholders navigating land access negotiations with resource companies, the Land Access Code serves as a minimum standard and valuable tool in understanding the rights and obligations of parties.

Landholders are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the code’s requirements and seek legal advice when negotiating access agreements to protect their rights and interests effectively.

Landholders have the ability to negotiate additional provisions into their access agreement, and from a legal perspective, are encouraged to do so.

Murdoch Lawyers’ Energy, Resources and Agribusiness team are experts in this field. Contact us office today for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your legal requirements. 

    Contact Information

    Direct Line: 07 4616 9823