Australia’s first Land Access Ombudsman made a first official visit to the Surat Basin last week, hearing from representatives of both the resources and landholder communities.
Jane Pires, who was appointed Queensland’s Land Access Ombudsman in September, visited properties and gas infrastructure around Miles to speak with APPEA members and landholders about the common issues, challenges and successes within land access relations and which might arise in disputes.
Ms Pires said that with its importance to both the agriculture and resource sectors, the region was a logical choice for her office’s first official trip to better get to know the lay of the land and the people.
“With so many resource companies and primary producers working in close proximity, Miles and the wider Surat Basin are a hub of land access negotiations and activity,” she said.
“The area is home to many fantastic examples of great working relationships between the two, but I also want those we’re here to help - whether a farmer or a land access manager from an exploration company - to know that our services are available should they need them.”
The Office of the Land Access Ombudsman provides landholders and resource companies with free, independent dispute resolution services for conflicts and alleged breaches related to existing Conduct and Compensation Agreements (CCAs) or Make Good Agreements (MGAs). Investigations are already underway after the Office opened in September.
“If you’ve got an issue regarding an active CCA or MGA and have already tried to resolve it with no success, you can bring it to us rather than following a more complex, expensive legal process,” Ms Pires said.
“Unlike the options previously available, you don’t need legal representation, we don’t charge a fee and we aim to keep the technicalities to a minimum for an amicable resolution.”
“We’re fair, independent and can’t be directed, so I urge parties on either side to consider engaging us if they find themselves in this situation.”
With a mission to improve land access interactions across Queensland, Ms Pires may also identify systemic issues and report to or advise government and peak bodies accordingly.
For more information on the Office of the Land Access Ombudsman and what they can help with, visit lao.org.au.
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Jessimin Horder – Communication Officer
0421 692 496
Last updated 13 Dec 2018