Landowners 'unaware' of royalties

FORMER Treasurer Andrew Fraser once labelled the property law rule as an "accident of history".

It means certain blocks of land titled before 1910 give ownership of the coal below the land's surface to the landholder rather than to the State Government.

As Mr Fraser once dismissed amending the legislation so the state received the royalties, Treasurer Curtis Pitt is also not considering it.

A spokesman for Mr Pitt said the government had no plans to review the legislation.

The spokesman would not explain why the government would not consider changing the law.

But a property lawyer who has represented landholders with these title deeds said it would be very complex because it would require changing the Acquisition of Land Act and working out new methodology for compensating the mines.

It could also be very costly.

The lawyer, who chose not to be named, said it was difficult to discover whether land fell under this category because it would mean working out whether any changes to the block would alter its status since the original deed was issued.

He said along with many politicians and community members, many property lawyers were unaware of the legislation.

Some landholders, could have been caught unaware and missed out on the opportunity to receive royalties.


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