WA Country Hour interviews GFCQ CEO

Western Australia’s farm and pastoral land is currently the focus of a lot of big business interests. Andrew Forrest has recently purchased another three cattle stations in the north west, and has plans to develop a renewable energy hub on one of them via his company Fortescue Future Industries.

But the mining billionaire isn’t the only company knocking on homestead doors. Rural and regional communities are now trying to work out the best way to negotiate with these companies and get a win-win outcome for the farmer, the business and the community.

ABC Radio’s WA Country Hour host Belinda Varischetti spoke with GasFields Commission Queensland CEO Warwick Squire about parallels between the coexistence issues the Gasfields Commission has been dealing with and what is currently emerging in some rural communities of Western Australia. Listen to the program below [interview begins at 15:08].


Who are the GasFields Commission Queensland?

Established as an independent statutory body in 2013, the Commission’s purpose is to manage and improve the sustainable coexistence of landholders, regional communities and the onshore gas industry in Queensland. The Commission manages sustainable coexistence in petroleum and gas producing regions of Queensland, and will continue to do so as the industry expands into new and emerging basins.

Our vision is to achieve thriving communities in areas of gas development that are free from discord and supported by well-informed, respectful and balanced stakeholder relationships.

One way the Commission is endeavouring to realise this vision is by providing transparency and independent assurances that the onshore gas industry is appropriately regulated and held to account when needed. This in turn will help cultivate sustainable coexistence, whilst ensuring community and landholder confidence in the regulators and gas industry increases.

Drawing on its wealth of experience in the development of the gas industry and by collaborating with other relevant entities, the Commission provides a range of support to communities and landholders, primarily through education and engagement. These education and engagement activities occur with individual landholders via Commission facilitated webinars, information sessions, publications (The Gas Guide, Shared Landscapes Reports), face-to-face meetings and public workshops.

It should be noted that the Commission does not engage in individual negotiations between landholders and gas companies, but rather provides communities and landholders with the information and support they need to make informed decisions and achieve good outcomes.