The coal-seam gas industry in Queensland and New South Wales has exploded with economic prosperity since 2012, but what prosperity will reach the local people if the drilling activity associated with it is largely unsupported? Local stakeholders have reacted strongly to the coal-seam gas industry, and the State governments have provided no platform upon which to voice local concerns. Coal-seam gas companies are made to look like unbridled corporate actors when in actually they bring jobs and economic growth to the local communities in which they drill. In order to quell local hostility and ensure that coal-seam gas companies gain a social license to operate, mediation should be mandated by the state governments in resolving coal-seam gas-related disputes for landholders, community members and all local stakeholders. Mediation is the most effective vehicles available to communicate local concerns, resolve contentious issues and finally allow local stakeholders and companies to unite around the benefits of the coal-seam gas industry.
This article is reprinted with permission from Thomson Reuters’ Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal.