Frequently asked questions—farmers
- I'm concerned about mining in my local area. Does the legislation protect my land?
- What types of development are covered by the State Planning Policy?
- Will I have to pay a high application fee to build things like a tractor shed or a set of yards on my land?
- Will I be able to build a cattle feedlot on my land?
- What if I want to diversify and build a 'bed and breakfast' to supplement my farming business during a drought?
- Are the green areas on the trigger map confirmed SCL?
- Where can I access more detailed maps?
- Will the maps be amended as SCL is confirmed?
- My land is identified as potential SCL on the trigger map. What should I do?
- My land is NOT identified as potential SCL on the trigger map. What can I do?
- How much will an application cost?
- What is the cropping history test?
- Can I have a say about a validation or cropping history test application by a neighbouring property?
- Will I be notified if a developer wants to assess my land to confirm whether it is SCL?
- Does a developer need my approval to lodge an SCL validation or cropping history test application for my land?
- My land is in a protection area. What protection can I expect if my land is confirmed as SCL?
- My land is in the management area. What protection can I expect if my land is confirmed as SCL?
- What is mitigation?
- Are SCL zones different to the protection and management areas?
- There's been a lot of speculation about the ability of the SCL criteria to identify the best cropping land in Queensland. Are you confident that the criteria will achieve the aim of the legislation?
- Will the criteria be reviewed?
- I'm concerned about the environmental effects of coal seam gas on agricultural land and groundwater. How are these issues being addressed?
- Does the SCL legislation cover CSG?
- Does the new legislation stop resource companies gaining exploration permits on SCL?
I'm concerned about mining in my local area. Does the legislation protect my land?
Proposed exploration and resource production developments on SCL—such as open cut mining, coal seam gas, underground coal gasification and long-wall/underground mining—will be assessed under the new legislation.
What types of development are covered by the State Planning Policy?
State Planning Policy 1/12: Protection of Queensland’s strategic cropping land only applies to developments already made assessable by councils under their planning schemes. Generally, this will be urban or industrial development (i.e. housing, industrial estates, and commercial centres) in rural areas.
Some development on SCL are exempt from the policy and will not require assessment, including:
- packing sheds.
Larger scale developments will be assessed under the State Planning Policy, including:
- urban subdivision in rural areas.
Will I have to pay a high application fee to build things like a tractor shed or a set of yards on my land?
Development that does not require a development permit from Council will not need a further approval under the SCL legislation. Also, no additional approval is needed for most small-scale development or any development for cropping.
Will I be able to build a cattle feedlot on my land?
Cattle feedlot development will not require any new approvals.
What if I want to diversify and build a 'bed and breakfast' to supplement my farming business during a drought?
Small-scale farm diversification activities to supplement farming business, including small-scale bed and breakfasts will not require any approvals under the new legislation.
Are the green areas on the trigger map confirmed SCL?
No. The trigger maps are a starting point for identifying SCL. The green areas on the trigger maps indicate areas that are likely to be SCL.
An on-ground assessment using the criteria will need to be conducted to confirm whether or not the land is SCL.
Where can I access more detailed maps?
An online mapping tool enables you to view the trigger map on your property, free of charge. You can select an area of interest using a Lot on Plan number or central coordinate and obtain a trigger map of the property in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) via email.
Will the maps be amended as SCL is confirmed?
As areas are confirmed as SCL, the boundaries of validated SCL will override the trigger map.
If land is confirmed as SCL it will be recorded on title.
The Department of Environment and Resource Management's online mapping tool will also be updated progressively to show these validated areas.
My land is identified as potential SCL on the trigger map. What should I do?
You do not need to assess or validate your land to confirm if it is SCL.
If a development application is lodged that covers some or all of your land, the developer will have to undertake an SCL assessment and cover all application costs.
Separate to any development application, you may decide to assess your land to confirm its status.
My land is NOT identified as potential SCL on the trigger map. What can I do?
You can undertake an SCL validation assessment to confirm the status of your land. If your land is SCL it will be added to the trigger map.
How much will an application cost?
The implementation of the new legislation will have financial implications for the government, businesses and landholders.
A Regulatory Assessment Statement was released on 31 May 2011 that evaluated the cost-recovery options and identified the most efficient and fair way to recover those costs.
Submissions received were considered and taken into account when finalising the fee amounts.
The SCL application fees are included in the Strategic Cropping Land Regulation 2011 (PDF)*. See the Strategic cropping land - fee structure fact sheet (PDF, 68K)* for more information.
What is the cropping history test?
In the management area, land will need to have a history of cropping, as well as meet the SCL criteria for the new laws to have effect on the land.
The history of cropping test applies at a property level and a range of crops will be considered.
Can I have a say about a validation or cropping history test application by a neighbouring property?
Applications will be publicly advertised and you will be able to comment on the technical matters associated with the application.
Will I be notified if a developer wants to assess my land to confirm whether it is SCL?
Yes. The developer will be required to notify you of an assessment, and you will have the opportunity to review and provide comment on the technical details of the assessment.
Does a developer need my approval to lodge an SCL validation or cropping history test application for my land?
No. However, the developer will be required to inform you that an application has been lodged.
My land is in a protection area. What protection can I expect if my land is confirmed as SCL?
Proposed development in the protection areas, if referred for assessment, will not be able to permanently impact confirmed SCL, except in limited exceptional circumstances.
The Minister (or the Coordinator-General for declared State significant projects) may declare, in special circumstances, that a development presents a scarce or overwhelmingly significant opportunity to benefit the State (e.g. a hospital or school, or a rare mineral only found in certain parts of the state).
However, this will be a rare occurrence.
These developments will still be required to avoid and minimise any impacts on SCL, and mitigate any permanent impacts.
My land is in the management area. What protection can I expect if my land is confirmed as SCL?
Proposed development in the management area, if referred for assessment, will be required to avoid and minimise, to the maximum extent possible, any impacts on identified SCL, and mitigate any permanent impacts.
What is mitigation?
Mitigation arrangements aim to address the loss of agricultural productive value that occurs where a development results in permanent impacts on SCL. Developers will mitigate by making a payment to the SCL mitigation fund or undertaking projects that contribute to maintaining Queensland's agricultural cropping productive capacity.
For more information, read the mitigation fact sheet (PDF, 93K)*.
Are SCL zones different to the protection and management areas?
The protection and management areas identify the level of protection that will be afforded to confirmed SCL throughout the state.
The 'zones' reflect regional differences in climate, land forms and cropping systems, and there are specific SCL criteria for each zone. The five zones are:
- Western Cropping zone
- Eastern Darling Downs zone
- Coastal Queensland zone
- Wet Tropics zone
- Granite Belt zone.
There's been a lot of speculation about the ability of the SCL criteria to identify the best cropping land in Queensland. Are you confident that the criteria will achieve the aim of the legislation?
Yes. DERM is confident that the criteria will identify Queensland's SCL.
The criteria were developed by DERM soil scientists, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation agronomists, and independent soil science consultants based on well-established soil science. Collectively, this technical group has over 100 years field experience in Queensland's key cropping areas.
The feedback received in response to the August 2010 framework and from the Stakeholder Advisory Committee was also extremely valuable, and informed the development of the criteria.
A technical assessment, involving detailed checking of 128 sites, and an independent expert review were also undertaken to ensure the proposed criteria were scientifically robust.
Will the criteria be reviewed?
On 24 August 2011, it was announced that a Science and Technical Implementation Committee would be formed to provide independent scrutiny of the soil science central to the new legislation.
The committee will provide:
- technical advice on the implementation of the criteria for identifying SCL
- periodic scientific and technical advice on implementation of the policy (e.g. advice on restoration of cropping land in Queensland)
- a report on scientific and technical matters associated with the implementation of the policy as part of the announced two-year review of the new legislation.
The committee is made up of four professional soil scientists—two put forward by the Australian Society for Soil Science Inc., and one each put forward by the Queensland Resources Council and the Queensland Farmers' Federation.
I'm concerned about the environmental effects of coal seam gas on agricultural land and groundwater. How are these issues being addressed?
The LNG Enforcement Unit has been established to comprehensively audit the activity of coal seam gas (CSG) companies and address safety, land access and environmental concerns and compliance issues.
The role of the Queensland Water Commission has been expanded to help monitor and predict potential groundwater impacts in intensely developed areas where CSG operations may overlap, such as the Surat Basin.
Does the SCL legislation cover CSG?
CSG operations proposed on SCL will be assessed under the new legislation.
Well-designed CSG operations may be able to be accommodated under this legislation without permanently impacting the land.
For example, gas wells and pipelines are usually considered to have a temporary impact, as the land can be restored back to its former SCL condition when the development ends. This type of infrastructure carried out in an appropriate manner may be able to proceed on SCL.
However, high-impact CSG infrastructure such as water storage ponds and gas compression stations may permanently impact SCL and a proponent would not be able to undertake these activities in protection areas, except in limited 'exceptional circumstances'.
In the management area, proposed developments would be assessed to ensure that they make all reasonable efforts to avoid and minimise any impacts on SCL. Proponents will be required to mitigate their impacts if CSG infrastructure is unable to avoid SCL is and likely to cause permanent impacts.
It is important to recognise that some CSG companies are already making positive efforts to structure their developments in a way which facilitates co-existence with SCL. For example, there are CSG proponents who have committed to actions such as:
- increasing the spacing between wells and adopting a flexible approach to the placement of wells (for field development)
- undertaking a trial of constructing and restoring a transmission pipeline on intensively farmed land (for major pipeline development) using world-leading practices to demonstrate that soils can be removed and replaced in layers to maintain the existing soil profiles
- ensuring that the area can be rehabilitated with precision to minimise impacts on farming businesses.
Does the new legislation stop resource companies gaining exploration permits on SCL?
The new SCL legislation does not stop exploration; however, it does apply to exploration-related applications and impacts on SCL will be assessed.
Exploration permits do not entitle the holder to conduct mining operations and do not mean a mining project will ever proceed on the land under the permit. Exploration activities are generally of a temporary nature and determine whether mineral resources exist under the land.
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Last updated 27 February 2012