Consultation and negotiation
If an infrastructure facility of significance (IFS) application is approved by the Governor in Council, the proponent must consult and negotiate with landowners and/or native title holders to secure the necessary land by agreement.
The proponent must notify affected landowners and/or native title holders in writing of the IFS approval and the formal consultation and negotiation period.
In addition, public notices must be published in newspapers circulating in the relevant regions.
Formal consultation and negotiation can begin only after at least one month has passed since the written notice was issued or the public notice was published.
Formal consultation and negotiation must last at least four months, two months of which must occur after the gazettal of the IFS approval.
Purpose of consultation
The proponent must consult and negotiate and hold as many meetings with affected landowners and/or native title holders as reasonably considered necessary to:
- provide details of the proposed IFS
- explain the likely impacts and benefits of the IFS and how the impacts will be mitigated
- seek landowners' and/or native title holders' views on the IFS and its implications for their land
- secure the land needed for the IFS by agreement and on commercial terms
- if native title exists, enter into an indigenous land use agreement
- demonstrate a genuine intention to consult and negotiate in good faith to secure the required land on reasonable terms.
It is important that the proponent documents all decisions and actions taken before and during the formal consultation and negotiation period.
This information will be considered by the Coordinator-General when deciding whether or not the land should be compulsorily acquired.
The proponent must offer to provide the landowners with an independent valuation of the land (at the proponent's expense), prepared by a registered valuer.
If there is disagreement over the value of the land, the proponent must advise the landowners that a second valuation may be obtained from a registered valuer (also at the proponent's expense).
Indigenous land use agreements
If native title exists, the proponent must take reasonable steps to enter into an indigenous land use agreement (ILUA) with the native title holders.
The proponent is advised to engage a suitably qualified native title negotiator to undertake the ILUA negotiations.
If an agreement cannot be reached between the proponent and landowners and/or native title holders to secure the land, the proponent should offer to engage and pay for an independent mediator.
The mediator would facilitate further negotiations in an attempt to broker an agreement.
If this fails, the proponent should submit all relevant valuations and the consultation, negotiation and mediation documentation to the Coordinator-General.
Afterwards, the Coordinator-General may determine whether reasonable steps were taken in trying to reach an agreement.