6 June 2023 Dr Rutherford
Transport and Resource Committee Parliament House
George Street BRISBANE QLD 4000
By email: email@example.com
Dear Dr Rutherford
AgForce is a peak organisation representing Queensland’s cane, cattle, grain and sheep, wool & goat producers. The cane, beef, broadacre cropping and sheep, wool and goat industries in Queensland generated around $10.4 billion in on-farm value of production in 2021-22. AgForce’s purpose is to advance sustainable agribusiness and strives to ensure the long-term growth, viability, competitiveness and profitability of these industries. Over 6,500 farmers, individuals and businesses provide support to AgForce through membership. Our members own and manage around 55 million hectares, or a third of the state’s land area. Queensland producers provide high-quality food and fibre to Australian and overseas consumers, contribute significantly to the social fabric of regional, rural and remote communities, as well as deliver stewardship of the state’s natural environment.
AgForce welcomes the opportunity to provide a formal submission to the Committee’s consideration of the Gas Supply and Other Legislation (Hydrogen Industry Development) Amendment Bill 2023.
We appreciated being part of the Government’s Department of Energy & Public Works – Hydrogen Amendment Bill, Round Table discussions on 5 June 2023 and being part of the consultation group acknowledged in the Bill’s Explanatory Notes.
AgForce makes this submission with reference to submission to the Department of Resource’s Land Access & co-Existence: A Review of co-Existence Principles and co-Existence Institutions Discussion Paper, which is attached for consideration concurrently with this submission.
AgForce understands that the Bill amendments are part of the state government’s commitment to the development of a new hydrogen industry within the state. We recognise the proposed changes to the provision part 1 and 2, with subsequent proposed amendments attempting to provide a clear regulatory approval process to authorise the construction and operation of pipelines for hydrogen, hydrogen blends and hydrogen carriers, as well as other gases in Queensland.
AgForce’s interests in the amendments relate to potential implications for our members, other primary producers and for the continuation and growth of agriculture in the state.
AgForce is optimistically cautious that amendments continue to consider the full scope of the effects of the hydrogen development cycle upon other industries, specifically our agriculture industry’s ongoing viability.
AgForce supports the following priorities for our primary producers:
- The highest protections being applied for the safety and privacy of farmers and agricultural production, in the first instance, the safety of primary producers and that the requirements imposed are proportionate to any risk, or increase in risk, that the production and distribution of hydrogen and other gases represents. Any amendments must ensure this outcome is secured.
- The minimisation or limiting of any unavoidable impacts on primary producers and agricultural productivity and production.
- Not infringing on land holder rights, delivering real protections for prime agricultural land and acceptable land access. More specifically as relates to development footprints, such as easements, pipeline corridors and alternate tenures. A preference for use of state-owned land over resumptions or impacts on privately owned or held land is sought by AgForce.
- We understand from the Departmental briefing that environmental approval, regional interest development approval (RIDA) and native title processes will apply, as will existing land access and easement requirements. AgForce has recently raised several concerns with the existing land access system, including the RIDA process, within a submission to the Resource Industry Development Plan Coexistence discussion paper.
- Limit or remove the opportunity cost of hydrogen development over agriculture development and future food security production for the state.
- Ensure prime agricultural land protections, land holder privacy and equal access to vital production resources and supply chain inputs of water, electricity and ammonia remain affordable for farmers to maintain viable businesses into the future.
AgForce would like to see an extension of Part 3 of the Human Rights Act 2019, pertaining to Section 24, Property Rights, of the proposed amendments to the Bill 2023; to include the privacy elements of Section 25 of the Human Rights Act 2019, within the amendment Bill 2023, which states:
Privacy and reputation. A person has the right, (a) not to have the person’s privacy, family, home or correspondence unlawfully or arbitrarily interfered with
AgForce would support this to extend beyond the current parameters; to include privacy protections for primary producers that consider the effect of pipe infrastructure development, surveillance, monitoring and maintenance, which may impact upon primary producers; right to privacy (including noise factors); mental health and wellbeing; animal welfare and disturbances and bio-security factors of nearby primary producers’ properties. We would like to see this issue addressed including through the hydrogen licencing, as a breach and revocation upon cause approach.
AgForce again thanks the Transport and Resources Committee for the opportunity to contribute this submission and welcomes the opportunity to further collaborate with stakeholders, before any legislative changes occur that may affect arrangements concerning environmental authority, native title, water entitlement pricing, water planning or electricity pricing, land access codes or Acts that may inhibit farm production in relation to hydrogen production and distribution.
If you have any questions or require further information regarding this submission, please contact Sam Forzisi, AgForce Policy Director, by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or mobile: 0499 960 006.
Chief Executive Officer
Enc: Coexistence Discussion Paper