Thursday, 31 March 2016

Gasfields Commission Review - Have your say

GasFields Commission

Bob Scott has been appointed as an Independent Reviewer of the role of the GasFields Commission.

People may remember Bob Scott as a serving member of the Land Court for some 14 years. Public submissions, as well as submissions from industry groups will be considered and recommendations made to the Minister for State Development.

You can have your say one whether you feel the current model works or make submissions as to whether a different form of Ombudsman might be more appropriate.

A link to the review process can be found here.

Our Mining and Gas Lawyers will be happy to assist Landowners who wish to make submissions or require assistance with Coal Seam Gas Agreements.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

AgForce Qld - Employers Toolbox

Mitigating Workplace Risk

Rees R & Sydney Jones Partner, Justin Houlihan recently spoke at an Emerald Agricultural College information session on Mitigating Workplace Risk in a Rural Environment.

Some of the commonly encountered issues he discussed were:

  • No Workplace Health & Safety Policy and Safety Management System in place. If it is in place, it is either limited and lacking in detail or not enforced or followed.
  • Equipment, vehicles and machinery are unsafe or defective due to lack of maintenance, modification or age.
  • Worker isn’t competent to operate equipment or machinery due to a lack of training or no competency assessment.
  • No personal protective equipment provided or the wearing of personal protective equipment wasn’t enforced.
  • No induction.
  • Inadequate training and/or supervision.
  • Lack of records and reporting.

Many of the attendees expressed an interest in obtaining resources that would help them meet their workplace health and safety obligations.

AgForce Queensland has answered the call by producing an Employers Toolbox. This toolbox provides rural employers with information and the templates to assist in meeting their obligations under industrial relations (Fairwork), human resources and work health and safety legislation.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Gasfields Commission Queensland Pipeline Pointers

Pipeline Pointers GasFields

Below is a summary of the Pipeline Pointers Learnings from Pipeline Stocktake Topic Sheet, available on the GasFields Commission Queensland website.


The GasFields Commission Queensland conducted a major stocktake of land rehabilitation across 64 property locations and tabled the following 10 key learnings.

10 Key Learnings

  1. Communication with landholders critical to good relations
  2. Contractor management key to best practice
  3. Level of compensation to be relative to total impact
  4. Multiple pipelines require coordination and cooperation
  5. Tapping local knowledge can lead to better outcomes for all
  6. Keeping on top of soil subsidence
  7. Weed management requires joint effort
  8. Fencing the easement can be a valued investment
  9. Property and business security brings peace of mind
  10. Specific rural industry requirements need to be understood

Rees R & Sydney Jones Energy, Environment and Agribusiness Partner, Melanie Findlay can be contacted on 07 4927 6333 or at

Monday, 21 March 2016

Arrow Update February 2016

Melanie Findlay and Emma Kime from our Energy, Environment & Agribusiness team attended the AgForce February 2016 Member Meeting in Middlemount to discuss the current position of the Arrow pipeline.

Below is a brief summary of the presentation. The full presentation can be view here, Arrow Update.

Arrow Bowen Pipeline Project

The gas project initially comprised of:
  • LNG plant Gladstone
  • Bowen Gas Project
  • ABP (pipeline from Bowen)
  • Surat Gas Project
  • ASP (pipeline from the Surat)

Additional articles written by our team on the project are “Strategic Cropping Land Declarations at Risk” and “What is a a Pipeline??”

What Now?

Arrow is joint venture of Shell and PetroChina.

December 2015 – the project has been delayed/shelved as gas and oil prices continue to lower.

Shell has recently sold off natural gas and shale assets in Northern America and walked away from the Alaskan Artic project worth $7B.

Energy is an Evolving Industry

The change in attitude towards coal fired power is seeing the closure of coal mines both overseas and in Australia. New technology is bringing down the costs of solar. Renewable energy is definitely an area to watch.

Our Energy, Environment & Agribusiness Partner, Melanie Findlay can be contacted on 07 4927 6333 or

ARENA data release and large-scale solar projects shortlisted

ARENA data release and large-scale solar projects shortlisted

ARENA have released a summary of the data sourced from their competitive expressions of interest (EOI) round. 

In the EOI round, solar and renewable energy companies were invited to submit a proposal in a bid to secure a portion of the $1000 million in funding that has been set aside for large-scale solar projects. ARENA received proposals for 75 large-scale projects in the EOI round. 

ARENA assessed the EOI applications last year and have since listed 22 projects that are invited to proceed to the full application stage. 10 projects that have been invited to proceed to the full application stage are located in Queensland.

If the Queensland projects are successful in securing funding from ARENA, it is likely that we will see large-scale solar projects in Baralaba, Longreach, Hughenden, Dalby, Collinsville, Oakey, Proserpine and Ipswich.

Full applications must be submitted to ARENA by 15 June 2016. 


See also, Emma Kime's article "Solar Projects: The Prospecting Race and ARENA Funding"

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

What is Groundwater?

Capricornia Catchments groundwater

Did you know that groundwater makes up 98% of the liquid freshwater on the planet? 

Capricornia Catchments Groundwater
L-R Linda Munns, Emma Kime, Amy Gudmann
Last week, Emma Kime along with Amy Gudmann and Linda Munns of our Mining, Gas and Rural Team attended Capricornia Catchment's Getting to know your Groundwater Workshop held in Rockhampton. 

Emma said that "this workshop was a fantastic local event that was able to bring interested members of the community together to gain an understanding of groundwater and the extraction process, the local geology and the impacts of coal and coal seam gas developments on water resources."

Many of our client's have concerns about whether they are entitled to enter into a Make Good Agreement with mining and resource companies and how coal and coal seam gas developments may impact their water resources and bores. As a result, Emma enjoyed learning first-hand how graziers and landowners can be proactive in monitoring water levels and measuring the quality of their bores on an ongoing basis to collate data that may then be used as part of a Baseline Assessment. 

Emma also enjoyed connecting with local community members and hearing the concerns that locals have with their bores and why they choose to attend the Getting to know your Groundwater Workshop.

If you would like to discuss how the Mining, Gas and Rural Team can assist you with any concerns that you may have about your bore or whether you are entitled to enter into a Make Good Agreement, please do not hesitate to contact us on (07) 4927 6333 or

Monday, 14 March 2016

$10 Million State Funding for Rockhampton Road Train Access

Bill Byrne, Member for Rockhampton, has recently confirmed that the Rockhampton Region is set to receive $10M in funding from the Queensland Government’s State Infrastructure Plan to support Stage 1 of the Rockhampton Road Train Access upgrade.[1]

Bill Byrne has commented that “with this commitment we will be able to see the upgrade of both intersections at Moores Creek Road and Mushgrave [sic] Street and Queen Elizabeth Drive and Lakes Creek Road (Bridge Street) intersection.”[2]

The completion of Stage 1 of the Rockhampton Road Train Access upgrade will enable road trains to easily navigate through Rockhampton to the abattoirs and “ultimately save the industry time and increase freight efficiency”.[3]

With an economic study of Rockhampton’s Road Train Access completed and a route identified, construction works are due to commence in the first half of 2017.[4]

While this State funding announcement is welcomed news and will bring many benefits to the Rockhampton Region and the local industries, Rees R & Sydney Jones understands that local homeowners and landowners may have concerns about the proposed route and how the future plans of the Rockhampton Beef Loop Road (also referred to as the Rockhampton Ring Road or Rockhampton By-Pass) may impact on their properties.

If you have any queries or if you are approached by a government department or receive a notification outlining that your land or property is going to be resumed or taken, please do not hesitate to contact our Rural, Mining and Gas Partner, Melanie Findlay on (07) 4927 6333. Melanie has local experience in resumption matters and is happy to assist you to understand the resumption process and your rights.

Melanie’s previous article on “Uncertainty over Rockhampton’s Beef Loop Road“, may also be of interest to you.


[1] Melanie Plane , ‘VIDEO: $10M Rockhampton road train access proposed route‘, The Morning Bulletin; Queensland Government, ‘ Palaszczuk Government’s vision for Fitzroy infrastructure released‘ (Media Release, 13 March 2016).

[2] Melanie Plane , ‘VIDEO: $10M Rockhampton road train access proposed route‘, The Morning Bulletin.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Frazer Pearce, ‘POLL: What do you think of the proposed road train route?‘, The Morning Bulletin.

Friday, 11 March 2016

The Carbon Market & Trading

Melanie Findlay and Emma Kime attended the AgForce February 2016 Member Meeting in Middlemount to discuss carbon emissions and the Emissions Reduction Fund.

Below is a brief summary of the presentation, the full presentation can be viewed here Carbon Market and Trading: Emissions Reduction Fund.

What is the Carbon Emissions Reduction Fund?

The Emissions Reduction Fund is a voluntary carbon offset scheme and part of Australia’s pledge to reduce emissions and create a competitive carbon market. See also The Landowner Lawyer’s discussion on the 2015 COP21 blog “What’s all this Paris stuff?

Accredited Projects

  • Beef Cattle Herd Management
  • Feeding of supplements
  • Avoided clearing of native regrowth

Beef Cattle Herd Management

Management practices that reduce emissions include establishing higher quality pasture, providing a feed supplement all year round and expanded watering points.
Feeding of supplements

This project requires urea lick blocks to be replaced with nitrate lick blocks and the use of the Beef Nitrates Calculator.

Avoided clearing of native regrowth

To be eligible for this project, the land must have native forest cover and have been cleared at least twice in the past.

Energy, Environment & Agribusiness Partner, Melanie Findlay can be contacted on 07 4927 6333 or at

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

CGT Withholding Regime may affect rural land sales

Rural Conveyancing just got even more difficult for our Rural and Agribusiness clients. From 1 July 2016, Vendors and Purchasers of rural land could be impacted by the new Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment Bill 2015. 

The new Capital Gains Tax (CGT) Withholding Regime was intended to target foreign sellers of land, but rural land transfers are likely to be affected. The way the new regime will work is as follows:-
Generally, if a Vendor enters into an option or contract to transfer any land or lease of Australian land, the Purchaser will be required to withhold 10% of the purchase price from the settlement funds. This money is then paid to the ATO. The funds are taken on account for the Vendor’s potential CGT liability. The new CGT Withholding Regime will apply, unless there is an exemption.
Exemptions include land or leases with a market value of less than $2,000,000.00 or where a “Clearance Certificate” has been obtained. These days, rural properties are often sold for over $2,000,000.00. It is the Purchaser’s responsibility to make sure that the CGT is withheld and so there are changes in the wind for both Buyers and Sellers.
At this stage, it is a case of “watch this CGT space”, but be aware of the impending change.