Exposure Draft – Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Bill
The exposure draft of the new Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Bill 2016 has been circulated by the Qld Department of State Development. This thirteen-page Bill has come about to honour an election commitment made by the State Labor government to end 100% fly-in fly-out mine workforces.
There are a number of issues in this Bill that should concern the resources industry including;
The Bill is retrospective and will apply to all large resource projects which have gone through the EIS process since 30 June 2009,
The Bill will apply to all projects future that proceed through an EIS process under the 1994or in Qld,
The Bill enables the Co-ordinator General to stop the EIS process proceeding until it is satisfied with the social impact assessment for the project,
The Bill enables the Coordinator General to impose conditions on the project (via the EIS process) – and neither the Land Court nor the Planning and Environment Court can be used to challenge these conditions.
Interestingly the Bill will only apply to the operations workforce – so the construction workforce for these projects are not impacted by this Bill.
One has to wonder if this Bill will really resolve the issues identified by the Qld Government commissioned FIFO Review report (October 2015) and the Parliamentary Committee report.
The Bill itself is just adding to the legislative hurdles for the resource industry in Qld. Surely there has to be a better way of ensuring the resources industry supports the regional communities that they work in?