The Queensland Government has passed legislation through Parliament that will make it significantly easier for decommissioned petroleum and gas wells to be converted into water supply bores for use by landholders.

State Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Andrew Cripps, said the Land, Water and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2013, passed in Queensland Parliament this week, will deliver a range of benefits to stakeholders across the natural resources and mining portfolio.

“We are streamlining the process for converting petroleum wells to water bores and speeding up their transfer to landholders,” Mr Cripps said.

“Landholders will now have ready access to water supply without having to pay for an expensive water bore to be drilled.”

Mr Cripps said the conversions will apply to petroleum wells where drilling of the well commenced on or after 1 January 2012, or the well was decommissioned on or after 1 January 2012.

“CSG wells drilled or decommissioned after these dates were subject to a strict Code of Practice ensuring long-term well integrity, containment of gas and the protection of groundwater resources,” he said.

Mr Cripps said amendments in this Bill will also remove duplicative legislation relating to farmers’ efforts to manage vegetation in a watercourse.

“Farmers need to regularly manage vegetation growing within watercourses to control weeds and prevent significant damage to river beds and vegetated banks when a flood occurs.”