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28 May 2020

Queensland Resource Authority holders beware of new change of control laws and disqualification criteria

By Mark Geritz, Ryan Branch

The Mineral and Energy Resources and Other Legislation Amendment Bill (Qld) has been passed, and resource authority holders should now closely monitor the development of guidelines for its implementation.

The Queensland Parliament has passed the Mineral and Energy Resources and Other Legislation Amendment Bill after accepting recommendations provided by the State Development Natural Resources and Agricultural Industry Development Committee.

Following our previous analysis of the Bill, it has been referred to the State Development Natural Resources and Agricultural Industry Development Committee, which tabled its report on 27 March 2020. The government tabled its response on 19 May 2020, which supported every recommendation from the committee.  The Bill was passed on 20 May 2020, received assent on 25 May 2020 with the key provisions that we have analysed previously commencing on a date to be fixed by proclamation.

Some of the Committee's recommendations are reflected as amendments to the Bill as passed, while others will be reflected as extraneous guidelines published upon the commencement of respective provisions.

Other changes have also been made to introduce industrial manslaughter offence provisions, mandate certain requirements for persons in critical safety statutory roles for coal mining operations and to implement changes to support abandoned mine rehabilitation. These matters are very important and are dealt with in separate publications.

Committee recommendations on change of control and disqualification criteria

Resource authority holders should note that the significant changes discussed in our previous article are here to stay and were not amended in substance before the Bill was passed; however, the Government has committed to the publishing of guidelines relating to the implementation of the changes. These guidelines will include operational guidelines:

  • to support the operation of processes to assess an entity's financial and technical ability to comply with conditions of a resource authority when there is a change in control;
  • to support the application of the new disqualification criteria in the assessment of tenure applications for a resource authority; and
  • updating the relinquishment guide to include information about petroleum leases being used to count towards relinquishment requirements.

Resource authority holders should monitor closely the development of these guidelines.

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Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.