The ACT Rural Landholders' Association has been representing the rural landholders of the Territory, originally as the ACT Rural Lessees' Assocation, since 1926 (arguably since 1911 - see history page).
We work to represent our members' views to government. We have taken positions on land use and planning, weed and pest animal control, lease terms & conditions, land tenure, government land acquisitions, boundary issues with government land, public and third-party access to rural property, environmental plantings, environmental regualtions, soil conservation.
We hold quarterly general meetings for our members, and attend a quarterly “Rural Forum” with the Parks and Conservation Service of the ACT Government to address rural issues.
If you have rural property in the ACT, you are invited to join. Membership fees are $35 per year. Members are invited to quarterly meetings, and receive copies of the minutes from the quarterly meetings and quarterly Rural Forums. There is also an annual newsletter.
We celebrated a 100th anniversary dinner in 2011, which is 2 years before the Centenary of Canberra. 1911 was the year of formation of the “Vigilance Association” in response to the Federal Government's plan to acquire all the land in the area for a proposed National Capital. Painstaking research into local history has showed a continuity of membership from this “Vigilance Association” up until the formation of the “ACT Rural Lessees’ Association”. Our ex-President Geoff Hyles deserves full credit for this mass of research.
The first Lessees Association was formed on March 1, 1919 but it faded after a few years (because of the growing influence of soldier settlers and their desire to stick together). Then a meeting was called for Jan 28, 1926 to establish a second Rural Lessees’ Association, but it was postponed because everyone was away fighting bushfires. It was rescheduled for February 11, 1926 - so we have been continuous since then.
The ACT Rural Lessees' Association Inc was central in the negotiations which led to 99-year lease land tenure over much of the ACT's rural land. The 99-year leases were first signed in 2000. Soon after this, the Association changed its name to “ACT Rural Landholders' Association Inc” - this allowed us to remain “the RLA”. The change from “lessees” to “landholders” was to show an increased respect for our land title. Note that all of the residential homes in the ACT are also held on lease title, but their “residents” are not generally thought of as “lessees”.
In the aftermath of the 2003 ACT bushfires, the RLA acted as a liason between its members and the ACT Government post-bushfire actions.
Today, as in the past, the Rural Landholders' Association seeks to give a strong voice to members by working together to face issues.
Phone to the President ( Tom Allen ): 6295 6576 or 0418 622 122