Land court: stay informed, stay involved
IN A concerted effort to inform landholders on options for dispute resolution, the GasFields Commission hosted an information session in Roma this week with key speakers from the Land Court and the CSG Compliance Unit.
The CSG Compliance Unit is a one-stop shop for community and landholder inquiries, concerns and assistance relating to CSG issues.
They are a key part of the government's responsible management of the CSG industry, comprising groundwater experts and staff skilled in environment and land access issues.
CSG Compliance Unit's Steve Ward explained the unit's role in alternative dispute resolution and their early engagement with different stakeholders.
Member of the Land Court Peta Stilgoe explained the way the court hears and determines matters relating to land and natural resources.
It is believed to be one of the first times a judge and court has entered a regional public space to explain what they do and how they function.
"As of January 1 this year, the president (of the Land Court) has directed that all mining objection hearings, compensation hearings and acquisition of land objection hearings will start with a site visit,” she said.
"That is, just the parties, their lawyers and the member of the Land Court.
"And, where possible, the first day of the hearing will go to the court closest to the land that is the subject of the dispute.”
Ms Stilgoe said it was important the process was transparent to the local community.
"I've been asked the question and it's an excellent question, 'how do we know if something is coming up in our region?' and the answer is, I'm working on it,” she said.
"We'll let you know how you can stay informed,” she said.
Ms Stilgoe also discussed the different levels of dispute resolution available to landholders before their matter reaches the Land Court.
"Stay informed, stay involved, because the buck stops with you,” she said.
"You are the one who hasto keep living on that land.
"Your lawyer doesn't, they will go and get another client, and I don't have to, I will make a decision and move onto something else tomorrow.”