Landholder Experience – Brett Griffin

Posted on August 31st, 2016

Brett Griffin, a third generation Yuleba grazier tells his story about coal seam gas and working with Australia Pacific LNG. 

My name is Brett Griffin.

With my wife Di, I run cattle on our 16,000 acre grazing block 50km north of Yuleba in Queensland’s Surat basin. We have two sons Harley, 29 and Hamish 24.

We have 120 CSG wells, with 8 still to complete, on our property and after initially being a reluctant participant I have seen the benefits that have flowed to us and as a result have changed my views.

This was helped by the way Origin has fostered good relations, not only with me, but with other landowners.

I look at it this way. Gas chooses you, you don’t choose it. So it’s a shock when it comes.

We are all divided into three groups. Active participants, reluctant participants and conscientious objectors. But the thing about that is you can change camps as time goes by.

I would have kicked off in the reluctant end of reluctant participant but as I saw the benefits of what came on here and what we were able to achieve, we went from being completely at the mercy of the weather and the markets to a more financially secure situation.

Right at the start I made a point of learning as much about the industry as I possibly could so that I was in a position to negotiate with some knowledge.

At first, negotiations were difficult because what was promised or spoken about was not always carried through.

That all changed when Origin appointed a full time company contact which signalled the turning point in my relationship with Origin. I’m told it was the same for other landowners.

It’s all about mutual respect and cooperation.                  

Origin did their best to minimise disruption.

During construction there were often 250 vehicles a day going through my front gate. Security guards were stationed at the entrance and vehicles had to be signed in and out with only authorised personnel having access.

We sold water and gravel during their construction. But that wasn’t all. I was able to negotiate a number of additional things that have been a benefit to our company.

A big positive was being able to set up my sons in a water trucking business supplying the gas industry in the area. It has grown quite amazingly and the boys are flat out and now employ a number of locals.

Another example of cooperation involved 1000 tonne of rubble that Origin had and were faced with dumping it in Roma. We were able to negotiate to use that rubble on our property for erosion control – we were doing each other a favour.

Origin needed to get water to different parts of the property for their development and we worked together on this for our mutual benefit and I was able to get watering points for my cattle at the same time. This was a great positive for me.

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A couple of years ago my neighbours and I had a bad bush fire and in the clean up everyone did their part including Origin who supplied equipment and personnel.

My relationship with Origin has developed over the years. We are totally up front with each other. We work, I wouldn’t say as partners, but we coexist on a pretty good basis. It’s a good relationship.

When I went to Curtis Island for celebrations for the first international export for Australian Pacific LNG I was struck by just what a big operation it is. It is quite obvious that it has created a lot of work for a huge number of people.