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Carbon rights on State Land – Leasehold property

Carbon rights on State Land – Leasehold property

Under the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Act 2011 (Cth) (CFI Act), a project proponent (often the Landowner) seeking to register an emissions avoidance project or a sequestration project under the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) is usually required to seek consent from the holder of an eligible interest in the land on which the project is proposed.

Where the project is on Leasehold (also known as state land), the CFI Act requires the consent of the crown lands Minister, as an eligible interest holder.

Where native title has been determined to exist, the CFI Act requires consent of the registered native title body corporate. It is the Carbon Offset proponent’s responsibility to ensure that native title is addressed for an ERF project under the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth), where native title continues to exist.

If there is a mortgage on the property, the Carbon Offset Project Proponent (often the Landowner) will also need to obtain the consent of their financier.

Carbon sequestration projects can have either a 25- or 100-year term, which creates potential for projects to be contracted beyond the current term of a State Lease.

Where the Lease is a ‘rolling term lease’, the lessee (landholder) may apply for an extension of the rolling term lease to ensure that the term of the project is within the term of the State Lease .

For tenures that are not rolling term leases, the Land Act provisions allow for an early renewal application to be made only after 80% of the existing term of the lease has expired unless, in the Minister’s opinion, special circumstances exist. Special circumstances are considered in instances where the lessee has the project declared as an Emissions Reduction Fund project with the Clean Energy Regulator.

The department will often support a carbon sequestration offsets project on a reserve when the project is compatible and consistent with the purpose of the trust land.

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It is important to seek specific advice regarding your circumstances as this fact sheet provides general information only and does not constitute legal advice. This article is current as at July 2023.