If a dispute arises either relating to sewer mining or access to an infrastructure service after a coverage declaration has been made by the Premier, a party may apply to IPART for the dispute to be determined by arbitration.

Arbitration is only available for a sewer mining dispute if the service provider of sewerage infrastructure concerned has lodged a notice with IPART indicating that they are willing for such disputes to be referred to IPART for arbitration.

Sub-heading: How to request an arbitration

To refer a matter to IPART for arbitration under the Water Industry Competition Act 2006, send an email to ipart@ipart.nsw.gov.au which:

  • has the subject line “Referral of a dispute for arbitration under the Water Industry Competition Act 2006

  • is copied to the service provider concerned

  • clearly sets out:
    • your name (including your Australian Company Number) if you are a company
    • the name of the service provider concerned
    • your contact details for communicating about, and being served with documents for, the dispute
    • a description of the dispute
    • a description of any attempts made to resolve the dispute before seeking arbitration

  • states that you consent to IPART providing details of the dispute to the public, or third parties whose interests are affected, if necessary.

Process after a dispute is referred to IPART

After a dispute has been referred to IPART, the next steps are as follows.

  1. IPART will either decide to arbitrate the matter itself or appoint an arbitrator.

  2. The arbitrator will convene a preliminary meeting of the parties to decide upon procedural matters for the resolution of the dispute. The arbitrator might decide to require the parties to prepare documents before the preliminary meeting, such as a list of issues and a position statement.

  3. The arbitrator will then make procedural orders for how the dispute is to be resolved. These might include orders about legal representation, evidence, hearings and documents the parties are to prepare.

IPART or its appointed arbitrator will resolve a dispute:

  • in accordance with the legislation that applies to a particular dispute

  • using a procedure that is fair, timely and cost-effective.

You should be aware that the costs of the arbitration are borne by the parties.

Further information

Negotiation Protocols

Fact Sheet #1 - Overview of the Access Regime

IPART has revoked the following documents regarding the general procedure for resolving disputes referred to it for arbitration. IPART revoked them because they were out of date, and because IPART decided to instead adopt a bespoke procedure for each dispute referred to it, to better achieve a fair, timely and cost-effective resolution.

Arbitration Practice Direction (REVOKED)

Arbitration Guide (REVOKED)

Fact Sheet #3 - Dispute Resolution (REVOKED)