Free legals for landholders

THE Bligh Government has awarded McInnes Wilson Lawyers a $300,000 contract to provide land access legal services to Central Queensland landholders potentially affected by resource exploration and development.

Mining Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the appointment fulfilled a State Government undertaking to further assist landholders affected by resource exploration and development.

"The Bligh Government is acting to ensure that local communities and individuals are not disadvantaged," Mr Hinchliffe said.

"It is a free, non-means tested service and it will provide rural landholders with legal advice and assistance for land access and compensation related matters.

"The Central Queensland service will augment the well utilised legal aid service that operates out of Toowoomba.

"McInnes Wilson Lawyers has significant experience in the agri-legal planning, environment, energy and resources areas.

"The law firm will establish a 1800 hotline to take phone calls from landholders and provide advice about landholders rights and responsibilities.

"While McInnes Wilson Lawyers is Brisbane based, firm representatives will visit CQ centres every two months to talk face-to-face with landholders impacted by the activities of resource companies."

McInnes Wilson Lawyers partner Gerard Timbs said Central Queensland landholders could call 1800  557  992 from Monday for advice.

A solicitor will be available to take calls between 8am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. An after hours service will also be set up, with any phone calls returned the next business day.

Mr Hinchliffe said the law firm could not provide representation in court or carry out conveyance work, so landholders should engage their own solicitor before they sign any agreement.

He said State land access laws ensured landholders received adequate compensation and had a say in how companies accessed their property and conducted activities.

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