On 12 October 2015, Herbert Smith Freehills attended the Queensland Department of Natural Resources & Mines workshop on the Innovative Resources Tenures Framework in Brisbane.
The purpose of the workshop was to discuss the Policy Position Paper, which was released in August 2015.  Submissions in response to the Policy Position Paper close on 30 October 2015.

Key information

The five key pieces of information we took away from the session were:

  1. The new tenure framework will decrease the types of tenure available to proponents from 20 to 5, being: 
    • Information Authorities,
    • Exploration Authorities,
    • Development Authorities,
    • Production Authorities, and 
    • Infrastructure Authorities. 

    This is intended to create a less complex system which will be simpler to regulate with respect to overlapping areas.

  2. For exploration authorities, there will be no maximum area size but parties will be required to provide justification for the size of the area applied for.
  3. Default relinquishment will be 50%.  However, there will be potential for reduced or deferred relinquishment based on the performance of the proponent.
  4. Feedback received by the Department indicates that the systems for production authorities and infrastructure authorities work well and there will be minimal changes to how these are regulated.
  5. Companies will be required to review their native title agreements to ensure native title processes are not triggered under the proposed changes.

Next steps

There will be further consultation and opportunities for feedback as the reforms progress through the following stages:

  • a regulatory impact statement due to be released in early 2016,
  • the consultation Bill which will be introduced to Parliament (no timing given), and
  • the Parliamentary Committee process during the passage of the Bill.


The Department indicated that it is hopeful that the transitional arrangements for exploration authorities will be prepared in late 2015, with full implementation of the reforms to be completed by the end of 2017.

Please contact William Oxby, Partner, Brisbane, +61 7 3258 6469 or Cassandra Duffy, Solicitor +61 7 3258 6456 if you require additional information or your usual Herbert Smith Freehills contact.