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How Good is Queensland's Law Reform Commission Inquiry into Mining Lease Objections?

John Southalan
Barrister (WA Bar Association), Mediator (NMAS), Adjunct / Clinical Professor (UWA, Murdoch, Curtin)

This article is written in personal capacity and does not represent the views of any organisation with which the author is associated. Grateful thanks for comments and feedback on earlier drafts from Prof Deanna Kemp, Julia Keenan, Prof Alex Gardner, Rodger Barnes and others who are not identified. Any errors remain the author’s responsibility.


The Queensland Law Reform Commission is reviewing the processes to decide contested applications for mining leases and associated environmental authorities in Queensland. The Commission has published several background papers, providing material and analysis of much broader use that just Queensland law reform. One paper explores key drivers shaping mining’s future: decarbonisation and critical minerals’ demand; rising focus on environmental, social and governance principles; and increasing recognition and respect for First Nations’ rights. Another paper summarises (and compares) the objections processes for mining leases and associated environmental authorities in six jurisdictions: Queensland, Western Australia, New South Wales, Northern Territory, British Columbia (Canada), and South Africa. The Commission’s papers provide excellent summaries and material for anyone wanting to understand mining law and policy processes – what currently exists in these significant mining jurisdictions, and what the future may hold.


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