Currently the Commonwealth Government is in ‘caretaker’ mode which means that Turnbull Government will not make major policy decisions that are likely to commit an incoming government, will not make any significant appointments or enter into major contracts or undertakings. However, decisions still can be made if agreed by the Opposition, an example is the support package to the dairy industry. Last week, the Federal Government announced a $555 million package in concessional loans which will allow farmers to borrow $1 million or half of what they owe, whichever is lesser. The Victorian Government also released a support package of $11.4 million but how that money is to be yet to be determined.
While the Commonwealth Government is in caretaker mode, the States are still operating and there have been some interesting developments.
The Mineral and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 passed last week. This is was another piece of legislation that returned community objection rights to proposed mining projects and protection of key agricultural infrastructure that the previous Newman Government had repealed. Examples of the rights returned are:
-a minimum 50 metre protection zone around an artesian well, bore, dam, water storage facility and principal stockyard
-repealing s71 that did not require consent for entry on particular land to carry out prescribed activities for mining lease
– reinstating the public right for comments on mining leases and environmental authority applications for mining projects.
Last week the Crown Land Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 was introduced. The focus of the bill is to amend several acts to:
-improve management of reserves by modernising the regulation-making power in the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978.
– improve enforcement provisions for contraventions of regulations made under various acts
– give greater flexibility to prescribed authorities under the Land Act 1958 relating to fees.
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