Landholders who are parties to a Conduct and Compensation Agreement (CCA) or Make Good Agreement (MGA) could soon be able to seek assistance from a Land Access Ombudsman, if a proposal currently before Parliament is passed.
Under the proposal, a new Land Access Ombudsman’s Office would be created to oversee disputes between landholders and resources companies who have already signed a CCA or a MGA. The Ombudsman would be given the power to call and oversee meetings, conduct interviews and seek advice from experts in making a recommendation to the parties as to how the dispute should be resolved.
However, there is a limit to these powers given that any recommendations made by the Ombudsman are not binding on the parties but can be used as evidence in later Land Court hearings.
While the proposal is a step in the right direction, it doesn’t replace the security which a well drafted and negotiated CCA or MGA provides to landholders.
The proposal is currently being considered by a parliamentary Committee which is due to report to Parliament in early August.