STATE DEVELOPMENT, INFRASTRUCTURE AND INDUSTRY COMMITTEE
Report, Motion to Take Note
Mr HART (Burleigh—LNP) (11.10 am): I move—
That the House take note of report No. 25 of the State Development, Infrastructure and Industry Committee tabled on 31 May 2013.
As a member of the committee I was very happy to attend meetings regarding the inquiry into the continued relevance of government land tenure across Queensland. The people of Queensland were very happy to see the government out there consulting about these sorts of issues. This is something that has not been done in the past, and this is a very important issue for all concerned. As we toured around Queensland and consulted on the relevance of state government land tenure, we heard from numerous people about issues such as: enhancing native title, tenure security and investment, uncertainty around rural leases, community reserves and, in particular, tourism leases. Others also gave evidence to our committee on the issue of protected area estates, stock routes, rail corridors, walking trails and renewable energy leases.
The inquiry received approximately 108 submissions in total, including: the Queensland CWA, AgForce Queensland, individual rural landholders, regional councils, the National Parks Association of Queensland, the Queensland Trust for Nature, and Gecko—which is, of course, the Gold Coast and Hinterland Environment Council Association. The committee undertook a number of public and private meetings in order to compile this response, with hearings being held over the last 12 months across Queensland in places such as: Brisbane, Roma, Mackay, Cairns and Rockhampton. We had a bit of a diversionary trip out to Alpha and Emerald and spoke to a number of rural landholders out there. We were on the Gold Coast in September, and then we finished up in Brisbane in February.
The government’s forthcoming response is that the government will be looking at rolling term leases under the Land Act 1994, which will provide lessees with increased security of tenure. That is one of the really important themes that came across during these inquiries. People out in rural areas are quite concerned about their tenure moving forward. They are concerned that they have to wait until 80 per cent of their lease is up before they can actually apply for another lease. I know that the government will be looking at that in the future and will move forward with improving conditions for them.
They also want to look at the flexible manner in the methods that the government uses to calculate rent. We heard that continuously from the tourism industry, particularly the island tourism industry. They feel that the way rents are calculated and the foreseeable increases are not sustainable for their industry at this point in time. The rents which the government is imposing put them in a difficult situation. The members of the committee took that on board, and we have made recommendations to the government about that.
We have now seen the government’s response, and I am very happy to report to the House that the government is looking quite favourably on a number of the recommendations that the committee made. I expect that over the next few months we might see some of those responses turning into something in the form of legislation or regulation to maybe help these people out in the future, because it is their lives and their leases that we are talking about here. Some of those people have been on properties out in western Queensland for hundreds of years, and their leases are just rolling over and rolling over. So with that, I commend the report to the House.
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