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Controversial Mining Bill Passes Lower House

The 1971 Mining Act has once again sparked division in Parliament, with three independent members voting against it and four Liberal members crossing the floor.

Despite this, the controversial bill had bipartisan support and passed in the Lower House. 

Hon. Geoff Brock, Member for Frome, was one of the independents who voted against the controversial bill.

“When I say controversial… I’m referring to resource companies’ access to land, [mining] distance to houses and compensation.”

“I don’t think the bill in its current form is fair.”

He’s not alone in thinking this, with support from peak industry bodies, including the Grain Producers SA and the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy, who jointly called for an independent review into the State’s mining legislation.

The point of contention lies with the administration and regulation of the Mining Act.

Under the bill, farmers have little rights when it comes to the resource and mining industry prospecting on their land.

“Land access is an issue and seems to be the most prominent thing for the farming community in particular.”

The Member for Frome is drafting a bill for a Commission of Inquiry into land access regimes under the Mining Act 1971 and the Opal Mining Act 1995.

Mr Brock hopes the inquiry will be overseen by a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, who is completely independent of the Department of Energy and Mining.

“I feel for [the farming families]. They have concerns for their livelihoods and assets.”

Though the bill has passed Lower House, and he predicts a “95 per cent chance of it passing the Upper House,” Mr Brock is quietly confident about his motion for an inquiry.

“It’s about getting all your facts and figures, and working together.”

“You can’t get your way all the time, but hopefully if I can… we can accommodate the concerns of the resource industry and agriculture industry.”

“[There are] great opportunities for both parties... and have been some excellent land rehabilitation incidences. However there are the bad [companies], the cowboys that may come in and do the wrong thing.”

Once Mr Brock secures the Commission of Inquiry, he will introduce the bill on the 31st of July.

“[I’m] trying to get the best result and the best opportunities for our future.”

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