New Ombudsman will resolve land access disputes
Published Thursday, 07 September, 2017 at 09:22 PM
Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines
The Honourable Dr Anthony Lynham
A Queensland Land Access Ombudsman will be up and running by next year, after legislation was passed in State Parliament today.
Natural Resources and Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the move would give landholders and resource companies a clearer path to resolve disputes relating to existing conduct and compensation agreements or make good agreements.
“The Land Access Ombudsman will provide an alternative avenue for dispute resolution and lengthy and costly court action,” he said.
“It’s critical to the Queensland economy and our regional communities that our agriculture and resources industries continue to co-exist, generating jobs, royalties and business opportunities.
“This is good for landholders, resource authority holders and good for Queensland.”
Two linked pieces of legislation - Gasfields Commission and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 andLand Access Ombudsman Bill 2017 – were passed today/tonight.
Both flow from an independent review of the Gasfields Commission Queensland last year. It made extensive recommendations to improve the negotiation of agreements and resolution of disputes between landholders and gas companies. .
Dr Lynham said the changes provided an equitable process and effective support to achieve respectful coexistence between these two important sectors.
The Land Access Ombudsman will provide a free service, available to landholders and resource authority holders who have a conduct and compensation agreement, and to the owners of an impaired bore and resource tenure holders who have a make-good agreement.
The ombudsman’s role will be 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
- identify and advise government agencies about any systemic issues arising from land access disputes.
- recommend to relevant departments the investigation of a possible offence, or a possible breach of a resource authority that is related to land access.
The Gasfields Commission legislation will give the Gasfields Commission a more active role in health and well-being matters, and see the Commission focus on facilitating better relationships between gas companies and landholders at a strategic level, rather than being involved in individual disputes.
Media inquiries: Jan Martin 0439 341 314