Access Arrangements for Coal and Coal-seam Gas in NSW was the subject of a Seminar held by the NSW Farmers Association recently. Prospecting and mining for coal and coal seam gas (CSG) is a hot topic in NSW at the moment with the new State Government declaring a 90 day moratorium on issuing further licences.

NSW farmers are concerned about mining exploration for coal and coal-seam gas on their land.  This prompted the NSW Farmers Association to invite farmers, solicitors, government and industry speakers to a 2 day forum at their Sydney headquarters on 29/30 June 2011.

Mediation & Arbitration Chambers  members, Derek Minus and Brydget Barker-Hudson were invited by the NSW Farmers Association to address the seminar on dispute resolution techniques. The NSW Mining and Petroleum (Onshore) Acts direct the procedure for dispute resolution and other related access matters  for mining activities.  Mediation & Arbitration Chambers welcomed this opportunity to talk with the farming community and their legal representatives, predominantly rural-based, concerning the benefits of the Med-Arb process.  They have also offered to give similar presentations to the mining / gas industry.

Derek Minus provided a presentation on the use of  mediation (which is not identified as a process available under the Acts) and other dispute resolution techniques to negotiate access arrangements. He  focussed on the benefits of early dispute resolution through mediation prior to the statutory process being commenced.  The use of negotiation and mediation in other situations was also developed by both Chambers members particularly in business development and farming family related and family-business related situations.

Being a Member of the NSW Mining Minister’s Arbitration Panel, Brydget Barker-Hudson focussed on the process of Conciliation to the development of an agreed Access Arrangement.  If issues are unresolved the following statutory process of arbitration was discussed.  Brydget highlighted the role of solicitors / advisers in this process.  She outlined ways rural solicitors, who know their farm-based clients well, can assisting their clients and community to develop useful, liveable outcomes in Exploration Access Arrangements / Agreements.

Mediation & Arbitration Chambers is happy to advise parties and their legal advisers, about developing dispute resolution through Mediation, Med-Arb and Arbitration in coal and coal-seam gas and other farm / rural related and commercial issues.