It was again with a heavy heart that I felt compelled to last night in the chamber sit with the cross bench to oppose the passage of the Statues Amendment (Mineral Resources) Bill 2018.
I did so believing the Bill does not sufficiently and fairly balance the interests of the freehold owners of agricultural land and the many mining companies seeking to explore the ground for minerals that may lay beneath their crops.
Whilst minor amendments have been incorporated into the Bill, I am disappointed all efforts failed to incorporate any key improvements I and the Members for Mackillop, Kavel and Davenport have steadfastly advocated for over the past 8 months since we successfully delayed the bill last November.
Our recommendation that an independent review of the Mining Act be undertaken also failed to gain party majority support, despite this course of action being supported by both Grain Producers SA and the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy.
As stated in my speech in the House, only the results of such a review, undertaken at arm’s length of the government and the department, can dictate the direction of meaningful reform.
It is my view that this State would greatly benefit from comprehensive research into the Queensland, Western Australia and New South Wales legislative models, to derive the best possible outcomes for both our highly valued and economically important agriculture and mining industries. We do not have to reinvent the wheel on this issue. Already other jurisdictions are dealing with land access conflicts better than us.
As I also stated in my speech last night, there is conflict between the promoter and regulator of mining being one in the same which must be addressed, as do failures in policing mining regulation.
Of the notice of motion made yesterday afternoon by the Independent Member for Frome Geoff Brock (seconded by fellow Independent Troy Bell MP) calling for a commission of inquiry into land access regimes under the Mining Act 1971, I look forward to seeing details and what can come from that proposal.
I will now watch with interest the debate of the Statutes Amendment (Mineral Resources) Bill 2018 in the Upper House and amendments offered, if any.
As I said to the many landowners from Yorke Peninsula and other areas of the State who rallied on the steps of Parliament yesterday and stayed until nearly midnight in the Chamber to watch the passage of the Bill, the fight does not end here.
The Minister for Energy and Mining the Hon. Dan van Holst Pellekaan has pledged phase two of reforms to this Bill which I look forward to being involved with, and I also plan to progress planning law solutions.
I sincerely appreciate the support of the Premier and Minister van Holst Pellekaan who encourage at all times to stand up for our local constituents. That is the great strength of the Liberal Party, that members are allowed to stand up for their electorates. I don’t oppose my party easily, but for as long as I am the Member for Narungga I will be a Local Member first, and Party member second.