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Review of Queensland’s coexistence institutions

A key focus area of the QRIDP relates to fostering coexistence and sustainable communities. Under this key focus area, Action 24 committed government to a review of the land access institutions to ensure they are well aligned, contemporary and efficient. In particular, the review was to investigate the scope and functions of the Land Access Ombudsman (LAO), GasFields Commission Queensland (GFCQ) and the Office of Groundwater Impact Assessment (OGIA), including if:

  • their functions could be expanded to assist in more circumstances
  • these entities could perform their functions in a single entity.

Consultation to date

Previous consultation on coexistence arrangements has been undertaken by the Department of Resources and GFCQ.

Department of Resources consultation

Following extensive consultation during the development of QRIDP, the Department of Resources released a discussion paper titled Land access and coexistence: A review of coexistence principles and coexistence institutions (PDF, 1017.1KB) for a 3-month period between 18 November 2022 and 24 February 2023.

The key learning from consultation on the coexistence discussion paper was that the number of institutions operating in the coexistence sphere is appropriate and that greater rationalisation of institutions was not desirable. However, it was evident that there was an opportunity to clarify the roles and responsibilities of each institution and address any gaps or duplication of functions.

Feedback indicated broad support for:

  • expanding the functions of OGIA to provide independent scientific advice and assessment for CSG-induced subsidence using farm-scale predictive modelling
  • expanding the functions of the LAO to resolve disputes relating to CSG-induced subsidence, and a broader range of land access agreements including the negotiation of conduct and compensation agreements and make good agreements
  • refining and clarifying the functions of the GFCQ to provide relevant and targeted stakeholder education and engagement across a broader range of land access issues.

On 27 September 2023, the Department of Resources released a consultation paper titled Coexistence institutions and subsidence management framework (PDF, 1.0MB).

The proposed changes capture feedback received from earlier consultation and represent the next phase of government action in response to coexistence challenges to foster mutually beneficial and enduring relationships into the future. The proposed changes will:

  • implement a risk-based management framework for coal seam gas (CSG) induced subsidence
  • implement a land access risk assessment framework in relation to preliminary and advanced activities
  • enhance the roles of the coexistence institutions.

Consultation closed on 8 December 2023. The Department of Resources will now consider feedback received during consultation to inform changes to legislation.

It is anticipated that legislation may be introduced into Parliament in 2024.

GFCQ consultation

Additionally, GFCQ undertook significant consultation from late 2021 through to October 2022, engaging with landholders, various state government agencies, resources peak bodies, agricultural peak bodies and relevant NGOs. Subsequently, the Regulatory review of coal seam gas-induced subsidence (PDF, 795KB) report was released in November 2022, which included 8 recommendations for government consideration.

In May 2023, the Queensland Government responded to GFCQ’s recommendations, with support for 6 of the 8 recommendations and support in principle for the 2 remaining recommendations, subject to further investigation.

As part of this response, we have committed to introducing a subsidence management framework that will assess, manage and compensate for the impact of coal seam gas-induced subsidence on farming operations.

Last reviewed 27 September 2023