The Australian Property Institute (API) is conducting a series of forums throughout NSW to gather information for a submission to the NSW government over its forthcoming consultation paper on Just Terms Legislation.
The intention of the forums is to re-examine existing legislation dealing with compensation for landholders affected by mining claims. In the northern rivers it is particularly applicable to people seeking compensation over coal seam gas mining claims.
The northern rivers forum on the Just Terms Legislation will be held at the Murwillumbah Services Club tomorrow, Thursday June 6, from 6 to 8pm.
The forum will be chaired by Professor John Sheehan, past President of the API’s NSW Division, who said ‘the NSW government announced in mid-2012 it wished to examine the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991, with a view to clarifying what rights and interests should be compensable under the Legislation; developing a set of principles to guide the acquisition process; and possibly creating legislation to enshrine such principles.
Lock the Tweed spokesperson Michael McNamara has welcomed the opportunity to work with the Australian Property Institute to host the forum for property professionals and interested community members on the Just Terms legislation.
‘Just compensation for landholders affected by the operations of coal seam gas companies is an issue that concerns many community members.
‘The current system of access agreements negotiated between companies and landowners represents a very uneven playing field for most landowners.
‘I am pleased to welcome someone of Professor John Sheehan’s stature to the Tweed to conduct the forum.
‘The level of community interest and involvement in the issue of coal seam gas in the Northern Rivers well justifies the API’s decision to hold one of its six NSW forums in Murwillumbah’ Mr McNamara added.
The API is especially aware of the mismatch between compensation in the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 and the compensation provisions in the NSW mining legislation. The API has already advised the NSW department of finance and services that the compensation provisions pertaining to such matters as access for coal seam gas and other mining endeavours should be more fulsome as provided for in the Just Terms legislation.
Prof Sheehan said ‘the current Act is 21 years old and arguably requires modernisation as to those matters that should comprise heads of compensation, how such compensation should be assessed (but excluding the quantum), and whether the current Act hinders acquisition by private treaty rather than compulsory acquisition’.
The API represents more than 8,000 property experts throughout Australia and has provided factual, objective and dispassionate advice on a broad range of property issues addressed by the commonwealth and state/territory governments.
In addition, the API’s advice has increasingly been sought by overseas bodies such as the United Nations, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (UNFAO), the World Bank and the Human Rights Program of Harvard University, evidencing a level of expertise within the API which is recognised globally.