Land Access

There are approximately 2,304,300 land titles in Queensland, some with one owner, some with many owners and some joined together to form large land holdings.

About land access

Land access refers to onshore gas companies entering landholders’ property to conduct a range of activities relating to the exploration, development and extraction of gas from underground.

Under Queensland laws, all resource companies undertaking work on private land, including the onshore gas industry, have to comply with the Land Access Code 2016.

The Queensland Government has developed A guide to land access in Queensland to assist landholders and resource companies in understanding Queensland’s land access laws.

Background

In Queensland, total gas exploration and production tenures cover about 3.5% of Queensland's land mass. Agriculture is undertaken on 88% of Queensland's land area.

All onshore gas companies undertaking exploration and development activities must comply with Queensland's Land Access Framework.

These activities are usually classified in three phases:

1
Preliminary activities, such as walking the area, taking soil samples or survey pegging have minimal impact on landholders);
2
Advanced activities, such as infrastructure construction have longer term and/or extensive impacts on landholders); and
3
Decommissioning activities, such as rehabilitation for wells or pipelines.

An onshore gas operator accessing private land to undertake 'advanced activities', must negotiate with the landholders on a land access agreement, known as a 'conduct and compensation agreement' (CCA).

As at 30 June 2015, about 2,200 landholders in Queensland had negotiated a total of 4,900 CCAs with the onshore gas industry. Compensation already paid under these CCAs including upfront and annual payments is estimated to total $238 million at 30 June 2015, and can range from small payments for minors works to over $1 million for major gas field developments.

Many landholders have also negotiated in-kind outcomes such as new fencing, roads, grids, sale of gravel and water, and have also gained access to treated CSG water for agriculture in some areas.