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Mandandanji People and QGC Pty Limited Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA)

Category: Agreement
Date: 12 May 2011
Sub Category:Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) (Native Title Act)
Place:Surat Basin
State/Country:Queensland, Australia
The area covered by this Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) comprises around 33,390 square kilometres of land in the Surat Basin of southern Queensland. The ILUA area is situated about 180 kilometres west of Toowoomba, and includes the towns of Roma, Surat and St George. It falls within the Mandandanji People's registered native title claim, which was filed in the Federal Court of Australia as proceeding QUD366/08 on 6 November 2008. The ILUA area is also situated within the jurisdiction of the Balonne Shire Council, the Goondiwindi Regional Council, the Western Downs Regional Council and the Maranoa Regional Council.
Legal Status: Registered with the National Native Title Tribunal on the Register of Indigenous Land Use Agreements on 12 May 2011. This is an authorised Area Agreement under the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth).
Legal Reference: National Native Title Tribunal File No. QI2010/034
Subject Matter:Land Use | Oil and Gas
Summary Information:
This Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) was agreed between QGC Pty Limited and Leslie Weribone and others in their capacity as the registered native title claimants in the Mandandanji People's native title claim in the Federal Court of Australia. The purpose of this ILUA is to provide consent for a range of acts in the ILUA area, whether or not they are future acts. These acts relate to QGC's Queensland Curtis Liquefied Natural Gas project in the Surat Basin.
Detailed Information:
Background to this ILUA

The Queensland Curtis Liquefied Natural Gas project

This ILUA relates to QGC's Queensland Curtis Liquefied Natural Gas project, which involves the development of coal seam gas in Queensland's Surat Basin for exports to various domestic and international markets. According to the QGC website, this project includes the following works:

- the expansion of QGC's existing coal seam gas production in the Surat Basin;
- the construction of a 540 kilometre buried natural gas pipeline network to link the Surat Basin gas fields to Gladstone;
- the establishment of a natural gas liquefaction plant on Curtis Island, near Gladstone, where the gas will be converted to LNG for export.

The Queensland Curtis LNG project is defined in this ILUA as 'the exploration, planning, construction, operation, maintenance and ultimate decommissioning and rehabilitation of the gasfields' (and also that of various infrastructure and equipment related to these gasfields).

The QGC Social Impact Assessment process for indigenous communities

In relation to the abovementioned project, QGC has developed a process of social impact assessment with a particular focus on indigenous communities. This process has identified a number of impacts that are likely to result from the project. These are outlined in QGC's Queensland Curtis LNG - Social Impact Assessment report, and include the following:

- potential pressures in terms of access to housing (which are proposed to be dealt with through a QGC housing strategy);
- potential for conflict between families and native title claimants in relation to negotiations about impacts and benefits, as well as greater community cohesion and stronger decision-making structures;
- potential for impacts on local values and cultures from QGC employees coming in to work on the project;
- potential impacts on access to land and environmental values;
- potential positive impacts on education (if provisions are made for skills and training programs in ILUAs);
- potential increase in employment opportunities;
- potential for improvement in health conditions due to enhanced employment and household incomes; and
- potential pressures on access to services due to a rise in population in the project area.

The signing of ILUAs with traditional land owners and native title claimants in the project area is a key part of its strategy for mitigating and managing the impacts of the project on these communities (see link to Queensland Curtis LNG - Social Impact Assessment, 2). It is also the main mechanism by which QGC intends to work with indigenous peoples throughout the life of the Queensland Curtis LNG project. The signing of ILUAs with indigenous communities affected by the project is part of QGC's broader strategy of 'going beyond formal compliance in its approach to indigenous issues' (Queensland Curtis LNG - Social Impact Assessment, 1).

Native title in the ILUA area

The ILUA area falls within the 33,390 square kilometres of land covered by the Mandandanji People's registered application for a determination of native title, which was filed with the Federal Court of Australia on 6 November 2008. This claim was registered as proceeding QUD 366 of 2008. It remains active, but is not currently in mediation.

Contents of this ILUA

The details of this ILUA, like those of most ILUAs, are largely confidential. However, the QGC Social Impact Assessment report has indicated that such ILUAs are likely to incorporate a 'life-of-project benefits package' that may include the following potential benefits:

- a targeted indigenous employment and training program built around the short and long term workforce requirements of the project;
- a structured capacity building program intended to improve the skills base of Aboriginal groups in self management of businesses and services;
- tendering arrangements for Aboriginal business ventures (subject to merit and commercially-based decisions); and
- a recognition program involving targeted cultural awareness programs an dongoing consultation and indigenous engagement forums.

While the nature and applicability of the abovementioned benefits with regard to this ILUA remain unknown, the agreement extract provided by the National Native Title Tribunal does contain details of the following:

Consent to future acts

Pursuant to this ILUA, the parties consent to the doing of a number of acts within the ILUA area, whether or not they are future acts. These acts include the following:

- the grant, variation, renewal or extension of any authorisation, lease, licence, permit or other right required by QGC for the undertaking of the project;
- the planning, investigation, construction, operation and maintenance of the project at the request or on behalf of QGC; and
- the decommissioning of the project and any necessary rehabilitation of all affected land.

Other provisions

This ILUA is due to terminate upon the decommissioning of the Queensland Curtis Liquefied Natural Gas project, unless QGC Pty Limited fails to obtain the necessary project approvals. In this case, the ILUA will be terminated, but QGC will still be liable to pay certain benefits set out under the agreement.

The right to negotiate provisions in Subdivision P, Division 3, Part 2 of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) do not apply to any of the future acts to which consent has been granted under this ILUA.

Related Entries

  • QGC Pty Limited - Signatory
  • Legislation
  • Native Title Act 1993 (Cth)
  • People
  • Leslie Weribone and others in their capacity as the registered native title claimants for the Mandandanji People's native title claim - Signatory

  • Glossary

    Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) (Native Title Act 1993 (Cth)) (Australia) | Area Agreement (Australia) | Future Act (Native Title Act 1993 (Cth)) (Australia) | Native Title (Australia) | Native Title Claimants (registered) (Australia) | Right To Negotiate (Native Title Act 1993 (Cth)) (Australia)

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