New Umpire to Sort Resources Disputes

Landholders and resources companies are a step closer to having a new independent umpire to help resolve disputes over their negotiated agreements following legislation introduced into State Parliament.

coal-seam-gasMinister Natural Resources and Mines Anthony Lynham told Parliament that the new Land Access Ombudsman would provide a faster, free alternative to legal action for industry and landholders.

“Agriculture and resources are both critical sectors in the Queensland economy and the two activities must often co-exist.”

The move to a new structure and body follows an independent review of the existing arrangements which the Minister says found dispute resolution options were limited.

“These agreements apply across coal and mineral resources, as well as gas and petroleum, so the new Land Access Ombudsman will be able to assist where a conduct and compensation agreement or a make good agreement has been entered into.”

“It’s in everybody’s best interest that these disputes are resolved and the new ombudsman will meet that need.”

The proposed ombudsman will provide a free service to resolve alleged breaches of these agreements.

This service will be available to:

  • the owners or occupiers of private land and resource authority holders who have a conduct and compensation agreement.
  • the owners of an impaired bore and resource tenure holders who have a make good agreement.

The Land Access Ombudsman will be able to facilitate the resolution of referred disputes that are within its jurisdiction, give advice to the parties and make non-binding recommendations as to how a dispute could be resolved and recommend the relevant department investigate a possible offence, or a possible breach of a resource authority that is related to land access.

The bill now goes to the Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources Parliamentary Committee for consideration and it will report back to Parliament by 7 August.