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Corella Valley Corporation Pty Ltd v Campbell[2021] QLC 26

Corella Valley Corporation Pty Ltd v Campbell[2021] QLC 26

LAND COURT OF QUEENSLAND

CITATION:

Corella Valley Corporation Pty Ltd v Campbell

[2021] QLC 26

PARTIES:

Corella Valley Corporation Pty Ltd

(applicant)

v

Ian Charles Campbell

(respondent)

FILE NOs:

MRA046-21

MRA047-21

PROCEEDING:

Determination of compensation payable for renewal of mining leases

DELIVERED ON:

6 August 2021

DELIVERED AT:

Brisbane

HEARD ON:

Submissions closed 2 July 2021

Matter allocated on 23 July 2021

HEARD AT:

Heard on the papers

MEMBER:

JR McNamara

ORDERS:

  1. In respect of the application for renewal of ML 2701, compensation for access is determined at nil ($0).
  1. In respect of the application for renewal of ML 90106, compensation for access is determined at nil ($0).

CATCHWORDS:

ENERGY AND RESOURCES – MINERALS – MINING FOR MINERALS – COMPENSATION – where the underlying facts and referral matters are the same as those in Corella Valley Corporation Pty Ltd v Campbell [2019] QLC 44 – where there is no factual basis for the Court to depart from key findings in the earlier decision

Mineral Resources Act 1989 s 281

Corella Valley Corporation Pty Ltd v Campbell [2019] QLC 44

APPEARANCES:

Not applicable

  1. [1]
    The Land Court determined compensation for access (only) in respect of the two year renewal of ML 2701 and ML 90106 on 15 November 2019 in Corella Valley Corporation Pty Ltd v Campbell[1] (the earlier decision). The compensation amount determined by the Court on that occasion was nil. A few weeks later the applicant applied to extend the term of the renewal of each ML from 2 years to 5 years.  Compensation was not agreed in relation to the 5 year terms as required by s 279 Mineral Resources Act 1989 (Qld) (MRA), so the Chief Executive, Department of Resources, again referred the matter to the Land Court for determination.
  1. [2]
    The underlying facts in these referral matters remain the same, as is the function of the Court, and I do not propose to repeat that information here. It can be seen at paragraphs [1] to [5] of the earlier decision.
  1. [3]
    It seems that the relationship between the representative of the applicant, Mr Rush, and the respondent, Mr Campbell, has not improved greatly, although there are some concessions to historical matters offered by Mr Rush in his submissions in reply.
  1. [4]
    Member Stilgoe made certain findings of fact and conclusions in the earlier decision. In particular she concluded that there was no basis for a finding that Mr Campbell has been deprived of possession of the surface of the land over which the ungazetted 12.8 ha access track passes because there was no valuation evidence to support his claim. Her Honour concluded at [14]:

“The Court has previously accepted that the presence of miners on grazing country does impose some additional burden on the landowner. It is possible that Mr Campbell has suffered a loss because of this access track but he has provided me with no information that I can use to assess that loss. As I will not determine that Mr Campbell is entitled to payment for the mere presence of the access track, I determine the amount of compensation at nil.”[2] (citations omitted)

  1. [5]
    The compensation statement filed by Mr Campbell is reactive to the applicant’s compensation statement, and he does not present any evidence to support a claim for loss as a result of the access track.
  1. [6]
    The applicant claims that the track is “used and promoted for use by the public to access tourist/sightseeing areas as well as other mineral industry operators,”[3] and that although not gazetted the road is maintained by Council. There was evidence before Member Stilgoe that there was another miner using the access track although there was no information regarding other users. On that basis her Honour considered the applicant’s contribution to any loss should be no more than 50%. As there was no loss, no compensation was awarded. There is no reason for me to reach a different conclusion.
  1. [7]
    There is no specific claim made by Mr Campbell in his compensation submission for administrative or other costs (loss and expense per s 281(3)(a)(vi)) and therefore no basis upon which to determine compensation on that criteria.
  1. [8]
    There is a statement in Mr Campbell’s compensation submission that suggests that other miners using gazetted roads have compensated him for the disturbance to grazing caused by settling dust on adjacent pastures. No evidence was provided. In the earlier matter Member Stilgoe concluded at [14]:

“… It is possible that Mr Campbell has suffered a loss because of this access track but he has provided me with no information that I can use to assess that loss. As I will not determine that Mr Campbell is entitled to payment for the mere presence of the access track, I determine the amount of compensation at nil.”[4] (citations omitted)

  1. [9]
    I similarly conclude.
  1. [10]
    In the earlier decision Member Stilgoe addressed issues, again raised in Mr Campbell’s submissions, of alleged previous non-compliance by the applicant and liability for GST. Her Honour concluded:

“[26] As this Court has previously indicated, I have to calculate compensation by assuming that Corella will comply with its obligations. The Court cannot punish a miner for previous non-compliance by increasing the amount of compensation payable for renewed rights of access.

[27] I note that neither the Land and Resources Tribunal nor the Land Court has a history of adding GST to compensation determinations. GST is payable on a taxable supply. Compensation paid under the Mineral Resources Act is not payment for a supply by Mr Campbell. It is payment for loss or damage he has incurred because of Corella’s mining operation. Therefore, GST would not be payable on any amount I determined.”[5] (citations omitted)

  1. [11]
    I similarly conclude.

Conclusion

  1. [12]
    Although these matters concern 5 year renewals rather than 2 year renewals, there is no evidence before me to reach fundamentally different conclusions. There was no additional evidence upon which I could act.
  1. [13]
    Accordingly, the decisions are the same, that is, in both matters the amount of compensation I have determined is nil.
  1. [14]
    There was an offer made by the applicant to settle compensation with Mr Campbell in the applicant’s written submissions. In submissions in reply Mr Campbell indicated that he was willing to accept that offer providing certain conditions were met. The decisions made here mean that the requirement of s 279 of the MRA for compensation to be determined by the Land Court in the absence of agreement has been met. Nevertheless, although it would have no impact on the decision to grant the renewals, there may be scope for the parties to negotiate a separate and private agreement. Mediation might have achieved that result without the intervention of the Court and in a more timely way.

Orders

  1. In respect of the application for renewal of ML 2701, compensation for access is determined at nil ($0).
  2. In respect of the application for renewal of ML 90106, compensation for access is determined at nil ($0).

Footnotes

[1]  [2019] QLC 44.

[2] Corella Valley Corporation Pty Ltd v Campbell [2019] QLC 44 [14].

[3]  Applicant’s Compensation Statement filed 4 June 2021.

[4] Corella Valley Corporation Pty Ltd v Campbell [2019] QLC 44 [14].

[5]  Ibid [26]-[27].

Close

Editorial Notes

  • Published Case Name:

    Corella Valley Corporation Pty Ltd v Campbell

  • Shortened Case Name:

    Corella Valley Corporation Pty Ltd v Campbell

  • MNC:

    [2021] QLC 26

  • Court:

    QLC

  • Judge(s):

    Member JR McNamara

  • Date:

    06 Aug 2021

Appeal Status

Please note, appeal data is presently unavailable for this judgment. This judgment may have been the subject of an appeal.

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