Gasfields Commission revamp to improve service

Queensland’s Gasfields Commission is set to be revamped to better serve landholders, communities and the onshore gas industry during the next phase of gas development and production.

State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the proposed changes in legislation introduced today were part of a package of reforms recommended by an independent review.

The Gasfields Commission and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 introduced today will be followed by further reforms later this year.

“The comprehensive reform package, including new Land Access Ombudsman, will deliver better outcomes for all gas stakeholders,” Dr Lynham said.

“The bill introduced today is the first stage and will set up the Gasfields Commission to provide strategic direction and to implement that better on the ground – in line with other independent statutory authorities.”

The changes are in response to an independent review of the Gasfields Commission. The review made extensive recommendations to improve the negotiation of agreements and resolution of disputes between landholders and gas companies. 

The bill will:

  • give the Gasfields Commission a more active role in health and well-being matters, delivering information and ensuring effective community engagement with health specialists and service providers. For example: This would include raising awareness of health and well-being issues with government agencies and facilitating information sharing and communication. For example, the Commission recently convened a 'Think Tank on Health Issues and CSG' in Toowoomba with representation from community, research, government and industry.
  •  change day-to-day operations and community engagement, extension and communication will be undertaken by Commission
  •  change the General Manager role to a Chief Executive Officer to reflect the broader responsibilities for the position when the chairperson and commissioners are appointed on a part-time basis.

Dr Lynham said the government was also separately proceeding with an alternate dispute resolution process and the establishment of the Land Access Ombudsman.

This would come to Parliament soon.   

Current full-time Chairperson Ruth Wade and the three part-time Commissioners will continue to lead the Commission through these changes.

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