Carbon rights in NSW
Last week NSW Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner announced that Western Division leaseholders would have the same rights as freeholders with respect to carbon rights.
Has anything changed?
No. The Crown Land Act was amended in 2006 to allow perpetual leaseholders to grant a forestry right on their land – this could only happen if the leaseholder had the carbon right in the first place.
So the Deputy Premier’s announcement confirms the Government’s view on what was already in place.
This would be the same position for landholders under the NSW Aboriginal Land Rights Act – carbon projects could proceed as long as they were in the interests of Aboriginal people.
However, the same cannot be said for the 26,000 would be Aboriginal landholders who have made a claim under the Act – that’s how long the backlog is for dealing with land claims in NSW.
The only protection for this group is consent right to carbon storage projects where the NSW Minister has made a decision to grant a title – a very small number of cases.