Siobhan Barry - Cotton Australia - Farmer access nirvana – A land access regime underpinned by a combination of Regional Planning Interests and MOU
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Siobhan Barry - Cotton Australia - Farmer access nirvana – A land access regime underpinned by a combination of Regional Planning Interests and MOU

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Siobhan Barry delivered the presentation at the 2014 Land Access Forum. ...

Siobhan Barry delivered the presentation at the 2014 Land Access Forum.

The 5th annual Land Access Forum brought together Government departments, coal, CSG, UCG mining and exploration companies, mining and petroleum industry associations, landholders, law firms and consultants to discuss the new and emerging regulatory reforms, practicalities, challenges, and future directions of land access.

For more information about the event, please visit: http://bit.ly/landaccess14

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Siobhan Barry - Cotton Australia - Farmer access nirvana – A land access regime underpinned by a combination of Regional Planning Interests and MOU Siobhan Barry - Cotton Australia - Farmer access nirvana – A land access regime underpinned by a combination of Regional Planning Interests and MOU Presentation Transcript

  • Farmer access perspectives: a land access regime underpinned by a combination of Regional Planning Interests and an MOU Presentation to the 5th Annual Land Access Forum, 27 August 2014 Siobhan Barry, Policy Officer, Cotton Australia
  • Contents: About Cotton Australia Issues in Land Access from a farming perspective NSW Land Access MOU: an outline of reception by growers Regional Interests Planning Act 2014 and Regulations Ways forward
  • About Cotton Australia
  • What is Cotton Australia? • Cotton Australia is the peak body for Australia’s cotton growing industry. • We advocate on behalf of more than 1500 cotton farming families in NSW and Queensland. • Crop worth almost $2.3 billion in 2013/14, with the average cotton farm providing jobs for 6.8 people. • A voluntary grower levy on each bale funds our activities.
  • Auscott Narrabri, photo courtesy Jamie Condon
  • A farmer’s view of land access
  • What are the issues for farmers? • Issues depend on each individual, vary widely. • Cotton Australia’s Mining and Gas policies focus on a need for fairly negotiated outcomes that protect: • water and soil resources, • infrastructure, and • farm operability and profitability.
  • About Cotton growers… • Cotton is grown on family mixed farming businesses, very few are 100% cotton, so they may also – grow winter crops – run livestock – grow other summer crops • Cotton growers are relatively profitable, highly innovative and typically operate on high quality soils.
  • Why do you think farmers are concerned about land access? • Power, control, long term viability, community, change • History of mining and gas - horror stories You as land access professionals need to learn if, and how, you may be able to fit in with different land uses
  • Photo courtesy of Max Mayne
  • Land access from a farming perspective • Respect – critical to any negotiation, consultation or relationship, includes honesty • Fairness – a good guide is asking: what would a reasonable person expect in this case? • Science – critical, must underpin operations and environmental commitments, farmers rely on it too, there are opportunities for collaboration
  • Land Access MoU in NSW
  • Why an MoU? • The MoU has come from a need for confidence. • All groups agree farmers have the right to say yes or no • AGL and Santos in NSW have agreed that they will not use the law to force access to land. • This commitment has been demonstrated by actions • So, if this is normal business practice, why not tell people?
  • How have growers received the NSW Land Access MOU? • Very positively. • It has placed growers back into a position where they are able (and feel more able) to control their own destiny. • The dial has turned to respect and negotiation.
  • Regional Interests Planning Act 2014 and Regulations
  • Regional Planning Interests legislation • Farmers of QLD’s most productive agricultural land now have a far greater say as to what resource activity can or cannot occur on that land. • It means that farmers’ underlying rights are dramatically improved. • Resource activities must now work around agriculture, not the other way around.
  • Less than 2% Photograph of “Glen Royal” near Brookstead, on the Darling Downs. Photo courtesy of Georgie Krieg
  • How have growers received the RPI Act? • It’s been very well received. • The increased protections in the RPI Act and its Regulations address key concerns for the agricultural sector and realise a key goal of our own Policy: “…to protect high value agricultural land” • Landscape wide protection has been delivered
  • Regional Planning Interests legislation • At the national and state levels, there are efforts to manage land use and set environmental goals at a landscape level: • Bioregional Assessments, Commonwealth • Regional Planning Interests Act, Qld • Strategic Regional Land Use Plans, NSW
  • Farmer land access criteria Photo courtesy of Lyn Wells
  • A combination of RPI and MoU? RPI protects the best, most productive agricultural land and limits impacts to less than 2%, while a MoU is sets out an agreement about how access will be negotiated, no court determinations of access. So Cotton Australia believes that protecting water and the best land along with commitments from companies not to force access is closer to the right balance for farmers.
  • RPI and MoU combo – what is it really? • It should leave you with an insight, that for farmers there are still issues that need to be addressed. • At the national and state levels, there are efforts to manage land use and set goals at a landscape level: • Bioregional Assessments, Cth • Regional Planning Interests Act, Qld • Strategic Regional Land Use Plans, NSW
  • Field to Fabric program, growers and all parts of the industry learning about the cotton supply chain. Geelong CSIRO Textile Research Facility
  • • Understand farming systems and infrastructure, in some areas “co-existence” may actually be an insult • Seek to conduct consultation and access negotiations when convenient, for cotton growers it’s winter • Understand and use myBMP (Best Management Practices) which is our cotton environmental, safety management and regulatory quality assurance system Key ways to fit in…
  • Greg Kauter and Paul Grundy
  • Some criteria for agreements: • Growers need absolute confidence that water resources and the productive capacity of the land are protected • Construction and operations footprint minimised • Amenity protected – noise, privacy, light • Landholders must understand legal and tax implications • Appropriate economic incentives
  • • There is always something new to learn and ways to improve. • Practices can improve, MoUs can be signed, independent scientific peer reviewers appointed by and with communities. • Collaboration, respect, dialogue, fairness. Final thoughts
  • Questions? More information about Cotton Australia and the cotton industry is available at www.cottonaustralia.com.au