This month the Commission welcomed the introduction of a bill into State Parliament by the Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham to amend the GasFields Commission Act 2013.
This Bill is the first stage of the State Government’s response to recommendations made by former Land Court of Queensland member, Professor Robert Scott, who undertook an independent review of the Commission last year.
If passed by State Parliament, the Bill will formally give the Commission a new role to provide information and coordinate health and well-being matters in conjunction with health specialists and service providers. The Commission has already been actively working on health and CSG, and recently convened a ‘Think Tank’ in Toowoomba to help us understand how to better address community concerns.
The Bill also makes amendments to clarify that the Commission should not be involved in individual disputes. The State Government is reforming the current dispute resolution process and establishing a separate Land Access Ombudsman, who will be managed through the Department of Natural Resources and Mines.
In response to a key recommendation of the Scott Review, the Bill will provide a clearer distinction between the strategic and operational functions of the Commission. The Commissioners will operate as a board and set the strategic direction, while Commission staff will implement this strategic direction.
This change means that my role as Chair no longer needs to be full-time. The position of General Manager of the Commission will also be redesignated to become the Chief Executive Officer to reflect the broader responsibilities associated with the position when the Chair and Commissioners are appointed on a part-time basis.
The Bill has now been referred to Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources Committee of Parliament for its consideration. The Committee is required to report to Parliament by Friday 14 July 2017.
You can find details about the inquiry by logging onto the Queensland Parliament website. Public submissions to the inquiry close on 7 June 2017.