Statutes Amendment (Mineral Resources) Bill 2019
The Hon. J.A. DARLEY (16:15): I rise to contribute to the second reading of this bill. At the outset, I want to convey my disappointment at the government with this bill. In opposition, the Liberal Party were very vocal in criticising the then Labor government for failing to consult properly on the bill and undertook to have better consultation.
However, I have been contacted by constituents and stakeholders who have expressed their frustration at the lack of consultation that this government have undertaken on the bill. Their frustration is exacerbated by the promise from this government that they would do better than their predecessors, only to be let down when it came to the crunch.
As I understand it, both the mining and agricultural industries are calling for an independent review of the act to look at best practice interstate. The government have ruled out this option and I would like the government to put on the record why they do not want to do this. We all understand that there needs to be a balance between mining and agriculture. Both industries are very important to the state and our economy; however, many have long held that there has not been balance, and that the act favours the mining industry.
This bill was meant to restore this balance; however, it fails to do so. Mr Bill Moloney, a farmer from Yorke Peninsula, has spoken publicly about the anger that farmers feel about the lack of consultation and frustration that they have not been heard. He said:
"Dan van Holst Pellekaan just hasn't listened and what people are cranky about is that the Liberals promised full consultation and open dialogue, but consultation has been extremely minimal."
I understand a number of amendments have been filed to the bill. They seem like sensible amendments which will try and rebalance the bill, and I have sympathy for many of them. I want to put on the record that I did investigate moving amendments of my own. These would have outlined that if part of a property was taken for mining, or if its viability was affected by mining, then the mining company would have to acquire the entire property if this is what the owner wanted. However, I was told by parliamentary counsel that this did not quite fit with the bill or the act. I thank parliamentary counsel for their advice.
I am going to reserve my position on this bill, but flag that I have grave concerns about it. There has been widespread criticism of the bill. It is not unusual for there to be criticism of a bill; however, criticism is usually matched with vocal support, and I have not seen this support for this bill.