Resource development and landholders’ rights

The Department of Resources has met with BBB graziers to raise awareness around land access procedures and protocols.

Through the LDC project, the Exmoor Cluster Group invited Department of Resources representatives to attend one of its meetings to discuss land access procedures and protocols for mineral and energy resource companies.

The aim of the meeting was to clarify questions landholders had around:

  • land access laws and guidelines that manage rights and obligations of resource companies and landholders (and other relevant stakeholders);
  • options and constraints available to landholders when negotiating land access agreements, in particular:
    • what activities can exploration companies carry out on properties, and what are their restrictions,
    • conditions of access,
    • compensation, if applicable especially around access to tracks across the property and protection zones around agriculture assets, for example, stockyards, bores, dams and infrastructure for controlling surface water flows.

It was a productive discussion and landholders thank Department of Resources representatives Tim Green, Stakeholder Engagement Advisor for the Georesources Engagement and Compliance Unit, and Greg Farlow, Manager of the Georesources Field and Compliance Unit, for attending the meeting.

They provided information on the role of the Department of Resources’ Engagement and Compliance Unit, discussed the land access framework in Queensland including landholder and industry rights and obligations, and explained the dispute resolution options available to landholders and industry when negotiating Conduct and Compensation Agreements.

Grazier Darcy O’Loughlin is flanked by Tim Green from the Department of Resources and grazier Noel Comerford.

North Queensland etiquette… boots and hats at the door.

Exevale Station grazier Buster O’Loughlin makes a point to Greg Farlow from the Department of Resources.

Facilitating better dialogue

The aim of the LDC’s Policy Engagement activity area is to facilitate better dialogue and relationships between landholders and government to improve understanding of regulation and on the ground activities. 

In the past three years, LDC has facilitated positive collaboration through round table discussions, workshops and field trips between government officers and local landholders with regard to reef and vegetation management regulations.

Grazier Noel Comerford chats to LDC Grazing Field Officer Sheridan Callcott.

Graziers Jack O’Loughlin (centre) with Michael and Troy McEvoy.

LDC’s Sheridan Callcott with Exevale grazier Buster O’Loughlin (centre) and Greg Farlow from the Department of Resources.

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Figure 1. Total fine sediment reduction by project type and erosion source. Inset shows the proportion of the total project area for each project type.

These estimates have been calculated using two methods: 

1) The pollutant reduction component of the Alluvium/Great Barrier Reef Foundation (GBRF) investment tool for hillslope and streambank erosion management projects; 

2) The Reef Trust Gully Toolbox method for gully erosion management projects. The LDC Water Quality Report 2020 (Waterhouse et al., 2020) highlights that a number of assumptions underlay these calculations, therefore these figures should be treated as the best available estimate of sediment reductions to date.

Preventing sediment from reaching the Great Barrier Reef

Each wet season sediment is washed into local waterways and out to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). 

Most sediment is very fine, and can stay suspended for a long time and can travel great distances. Valuable topsoil is lost from production, and increased concentrations on the reef can be harmful to seagrasses and corals. 

Landholders in the BBB have completed 69 on-ground water quality practice changes, and it is estimated that these have contributed a fine sediment reduction of 6,154 tonnes per year from reaching the GBR. 

Of this, approximately half of the sediment savings are attributable to grazing land management changes on hillslopes and streambanks, and the other half as a result of gully remediation treatments across a broad range of scales, as shown in the graphs above. 

The table below also highlights the relatively small area of intervention in the gully management projects compared to the large sediment savings that these can achieve - 60 per cent of the sediment savings over only 4 per cent of the project area.

Table 1. Estimated sediment reductions (tonnes) from projects completed in the LDC Project to date.

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*GLMWW = Grazing Land Management Wire and Water

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*The Exploring New Incentives activity area has provided an opportunity for graziers to adopt improved land management practices through a range of activities. For some of these properties, it was the first time they signed contracts for on-ground works.

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The LDC project monitors four gully sites (represented in this table) with gold standard equipment and analysis, carried out by CSIRO.

Results have been compiled in a preliminary report from Bartley et al (2020), with the final report expected to be released by the end of 2020. The preliminary report shows all four sites have indicators of improvements, notably the Strathbogie and Mt Wickham sites.

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Reef regulations - grazing, standard conditions

  1. For land in good or fair condition (more than 50 per cent ground cover at 30 September), continue using measures to maintain land condition.
  2. For land in poor condition (less than 50 per cent ground cover at 30 September), steps must be taken to improve land condition.
  3. For land in degraded condition (less than 20 per cent ground cover at 30 September), steps must be taken to improve land condition OR prevent areas from further degrading or expanding.
  4. Keep records of measures taken and also of agricultural chemicals, fertiliser and mill mud or mill ash applied to land.
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