Queenslanders dealing with land access issues will continue to have an avenue to trustworthy, free, independent dispute resolution services, with Land Access Ombudsman Jane Pires being reappointed for another three years.
Ms Pires was appointed as Queensland’s and Australia’s first Land Access Ombudsman in September 2018. Her team helps to resolve disputes between landholders and resource companies over alleged breaches of Conduct and Compensation or Make Good Agreements, as a free, independent and informal alternative to legal action or other forms of mediation.
Ms Pires’ extension is recognition of the Office of the Land Access Ombudsman’s important role in facilitating more positive land access relations, and brings consistency and reassurance as Queensland’s resource industries continue to expand.
“Our continued presence means we’re not just offering ongoing support to those currently experiencing disputes, but reassurance to those just beginning to embark on the land access process,” said Ms Pires.
“With land access education and procedures continuing to improve they may never need us. But it’s good to know that effective, affordable support will be here if they do.”
As Ombudsman, Ms Pires is also responsible for identifying and reporting on systemic issues, and advising government and industry on trends and areas for improvement.
“Thankfully, in the cases we’ve investigated to date and what’s been reported to me anecdotally, we haven’t yet identified any major systemic issues,” Ms Pires said.
“That said, some common issues continue to come up – biosecurity, damage to property, impeded access, poor communication – and I’ve had productive conversations with industry on how to improve on these and move forward.”
Those who aren’t sure if the Land Access Ombudsman can help with their dispute are encouraged to reach out to talk through their situation.
“We know the options you’ve had in the past may have been murky, but we’re here and committed to making sure you get the help you need,” Ms Pires said.
“We’ll work through your issue to determine if we can take it from there, or if there’s another place better suited to assist you – even if that’s a government department, the Land Court or the Gasfields Commission, we’ll make sure you’ll get where you need to go. No running in circles or repeating yourself.”
Ms Pires has also been reappointed as Queensland’s Energy and Water Ombudsman, helping Queensland consumers resolve disputes with their electricity, gas or water supplier. She has held this role since 2016.
For more information on the Land Access Ombudsman’s role and services to Queenslanders experiencing land access disputes, please visit www.lao.org.au.
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Jessimin Horder – Communication Officer, Office of the Land Access Ombudsman
0421 692 496
Last updated 02 Sep 2020