Dispute Resolution Options

There's a range of options available to help you reach agreements if negotiations with gas companies become challenging.

Dispute resolution options

Petroleum and gas companies are required under Queensland law to enter into a land access agreement (i.e. a conduct and compensation agreement, deferral agreement or an opt-out agreement) with landholders if they wish to carry out advanced activities on private land.

Make good agreements are also required if the capacity of a landholder’s bore is impaired, or is predicted to be impaired as a result of resource production.

Below is an outline of the various dispute resolution options available if negotiations about land access or make good agreements become challenging.

You can also download our fact sheet here.

The Land Court of Queensland provides further information on the dispute resolution options they provide, including a panel of qualified convenors who can help resolve disputes without the need of a hearing.

Dispute resolution options for conduct and compensation agreements

Negotiation period

  • The minimum negotiation period is 20 business days after the resource company has provided notice, or a longer period is agreed to by both parties.
  • The company is not permitted to enter the land to conduct advanced activities during this minimum negotiation period.

Options

  • If no agreement is reached by the end of the minimum negotiation period, either party may provide the other part with a written notice (called an 'election notice') seeking to enter into dispute resolution. The options for dispute resolution are:
  • 1. Enter into a conference with an authorised officer from the Coal Seam Gas Compliance Unit (CSGCU) by providing a copy of the election notice to the CSGCU and the other party.

    The authorised officer will help facilitate a discussion between the parties with the aim of working through the issues in dispute to reach agreement.

    No party can be represented by a lawyer unless the other party agrees and the authorised officer is satisfied there is no disadvantage to the other party.

    The authorised officer must take all reasonable steps to ensure the conference proceedings are finished within 20 business days, or if the parties agree to a longer period - that day.

    This is a non-binding, low cost option.
  • 2. Enter in an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process.

    The intent is to work through issues in dispute with the aid of an independent expert outside of a court proceeding.

    The party who requests an ADR must bear the costs of engaging the independent third party.

    There are four types of ADR to choose from:

    Mediation - an independent and neutral person facilitates a discussion between the parties to work out the issues in dispute and come up with an acceptable solution. The mediator does not advise or make any decisions. 

    Conciliation - a neutral person who is an expert on the subject of the dispute discusses the strengths and weaknesses of each party's arguments. The conciliator acts in an advisory role, but does not make any decisions.

    Collaborative negotiation - both parties work through their legal counsels to reach a negotiated agreement.

    Arbitration - an independent arbitrator acts as a judge. The arbitrator hears the arguments from both parties and makes a decision that is binding on both parties.
  • 3. Either party may submit an application to the Land Court to resolve the dispute if:

          - the authorised officer from CSGCU failed to finish the conference prior to the end of the 20 business day negotiation period

          - the ADR facilitator failed to finished the ADR prior to the end of the 20 business day negotiation period

          - only one party attended the requested conference or ADR

          - a CCA was not reached at the end of the conference or ADR 

    The decision of the Land Court is binding on both parties.
Dispute resolution options for make good agreements

Negotiation period

  • The resource company must undertake a bore assessment within 60 business days of the bore being identified in an underground water impact report. This is unless the State Government agrees to a later day. 
  • The resource company must use best endeavours to enter into a make good agreement with the bore owner within 40 business days after the bore assessment is undertaken, unless the State Government agrees to a later day.
  • After the make good agreement is signed, the bore owner then has a 'cooling off period' of 5 business days to give written notice to the gas company if they wish to terminate the agreement.

Options

  • If no agreement is reached by the end of the negotiation period, either party may provide the other party with a written notice (called an 'election notice') seeking to enter into dispute resolution. The options for dispute resolution are:
  • 1. Enter into a conference with an authorised officer from the Coal Seam Gas Compliance Unit (CSGCU) by providing a copy of the election notice to the CSGCU and the other party.

    The authorised officer will help facilitate a discussion between the parties with the aim of working through the issues in dispute and to reach agreement.

    No party can be represented by a lawyer unless the other party agrees and the authorised officer is satisfied there is no disadvantage to the other party.

    The authorised officer must take all reasonable steps to ensure the conference proceedings are finished within 30 business days, or if the parties agree to a longer period - that day.

    This is a non-binding, low cost option.
  • 2. Enter into an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process.

    The intent is to work through issues in dispute with the aid of an independent expert outside of a court proceeding.

    The resource company must bear the costs of the person facilitating the ADR process, regardless of which party called for the ADR.

    There are four types of ADR to choose from:

    Mediation - an independent and neutral person facilitates a discussion between the parties to work out the issues in dispute and come up with an acceptable solution. The mediator does not advise or make any decisions.

    Conciliation - a neutral person who is an expert on the subject of the dispute discusses the strengths and weaknesses of each party's arguments. The conciliator acts in an advisory role, but does not make any decisions.

    Collaborative negotiation - both parties work through their legal counsels to reach a negotiated agreement.

    Arbitration - an independent arbitrator acts as a judge. The arbitrator hears the arguments from both parties and makes a decision that is binding on both parties.
  • 3. Either party may submit an application to the Land Court to resolve the dispute if:

          - the authorised officer failed to finish the conference within the required period

          - the parties failed to finish the ADR process within the required period

          - only one party attended the requested conference or ADR

          - a make good agreement was not reached at the end of the conference or ADR  

    The decision of the Land Court is binding on both parties.