On 18 August 2017, President Kingham of the Land Court of Queensland handed down her decision in Nothdurft & Anor v QGC Pty Limited & Ors [2017] QLC 41. This decision was the first to consider the review compensation previously agreed for activities under a PL.

The case established that in reviewing compensation for activities carried out pursuant to a PL, the Land Court must establish firstly that there has been a change in circumstances, and secondly, that the change is material.

If the Court finds that there has been a material change in circumstances, it must identify the compensable effect of the change and determine whether it warrants additional compensation. That is, the Court does not, as argued by the landholders in this case, reassess the compensation payable for the PL activities and award the difference, if one exists.

In this case, the landholder asserted, amongst other matters, that there was a material change in circumstances due to the exceedance of the environmental authority (EA) noise conditions. The evidence of the landholder was not accepted but the expert evidence found that there were exceedances of the noise conditions at his residence.

The Court found that there was a material change in circumstances due to exceedances of noise conditions under the EA.

  • When this may be important to you: if you are the holder of a resource authority.
  • Recommended action: ensure you are compliant with any conditions associated with a resource authority. Failure to comply may constitute a material change and warrant additional compensation to landholders, or even enforcement action.