Camberwell Common

About this Item
SpeakersRhiannon Ms Lee; Kelly The Hon Tony
BusinessQuestions Without Notice, QWN

Page: 22288

Ms LEE RHIANNON: I direct my question to the Minister for Lands. What legal advice did the Minister or his department receive to make the decision to revoke the reserve known as Camberwell Common and grant legal tenure over the site to Ashton Coal via a licence for access and grazing? What advice did the Minister or his department receive about revoking the land transfer deal that the Government made with the Camberwell village community in 2002? What are the details of the cost, the duration and any other terms of Ashton Coal's licence to access and graze the common?

The Hon. TONY KELLY: Ashton Coal Mining Operations Pty Ltd holds an exploration licence over part of the former Camberwell Common. This licence, first issued in 2001, was subsequently renewed by the Department of Industry and Investment to allow the company to complete its investigations. An exploration licence empowers the licensee to enter onto the lands in question, provided appropriate notice is given to the affected landowners. In the case of Camberwell Common, the affected landowner was the Camberwell Common Trust, which managed the land on behalf of a handful of local residents.

Earlier this year Ashton Coal again sought access to the common to undertake additional environmental studies in order to progress its development application. Since the Camberwell Common Trust refused to negotiate access rights with Ashton Coal, the Land and Property Management Authority had no option but to recommend that the common reserve be revoked. The common reserve was accordingly revoked under the provisions of section 61A of the Commons Management Act 1989.

In addition to its exploration licence, Ashton Coal has now been granted a licence under the Crown Lands Act for the purpose of access, grazing and site investigation. Importantly, local residents who wish to retain grazing rights can do so by approaching Ashton Coal. In this regard, the company has indicated to the Land and Property Management Authority that it has no objection to grazing continuing in the short term. If necessary, other Crown land in the vicinity may be made available for grazing purposes.

Ms LEE RHIANNON: I ask a supplementary question. Can the Minister elucidate his answer, particularly with respect to the duration of the new licence granted to Ashton Coal with regard to access in the common?

The Hon. TONY KELLY: I do not have that information available to me. I will obtain the information and pass it on to the member.