Office of the Oilcode Dispute Resolution Adviser
This is the official website of the Office of the Oilcode Dispute Resolution Adviser. The Office is a Commonwealth government funded body, established to assist participants in the petroleum industry resolve their disputes without having to go to court.
The Oilcode is a mandatory code prescribed by regulation under s. 51AE Competition and Consumer Act 2010. It came into effect on 1 March 2007 and was revised and amended on 3 July 2012. The aims of the Oilcode are to:
- improve transparency in wholesale pricing and provide better access to declared petroleum products at a published terminal gate price (TGP)
- help industry participants make informed decisions when entering, renewing or transferring a fuel re-selling agreement through the disclosure of specific information
- provide access to a cost-effective and timely dispute resolution scheme as an alternative to litigation.
Role of the Dispute Resolution Adviser
The Oilcode provides for the federal Minister for the Environment and Energy to appoint a Dispute Resolution Adviser (DRA). The role of the DRA is to advise the Minister on alternative dispute resolution, resolve disputes, arrange mediation and act as adviser to disputants in the Australian petroleum retail industry seeking dispute resolution in accordance with the Oilcode.
The DRA assists the resolution of disputes between distributors, wholesalers or retailers about the supply of motor fuel in Australia as an alternative to costly and time-consuming litigation in court. The DRA may make a non-binding determination for industry disputes under the Oilcode and appoint a person to provide mediation or other assistance. Under the Oilcode, parties must work with the mediator and act in good faith to try to resolve the dispute.
As the Office of the DRA is a government funded body, there is no charge to contact the DRA to discuss your dispute, enquire about the resolution service or request that a suitable mediator be identified and appointed to assist the parties. The DRA maintains a list of mediators in each state and on request of either party, can appoint mediators to assist in resolving their disputes. If the parties decide to proceed to mediation they share the medator’s fees (which are capped under Commonwealth arrangements) equally between them. See Cost of the Dispute Resolution.
The dispute resolution scheme does not prohibit anyone from going directly to the ACCC or from taking private legal action for a breach of the Oilcode or the Act.