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Deep gas framework must focus on benefits for local communities

Posted on 3 September 2014

Sourced from GasFields Commission Queensland

GasFields Commissioner Shane Charles (pictured) recently visited the Cooper Basin to get a better understanding of the region's oil and gas industry.

The GasFields Commission has welcomed the State Government's release of a new framework to manage the developing deep gas industry in Queensland and say focusing on the benefits for local communities should be a priority.

Chairman, John Cotter, said the Framework for the Next Generation of Onshore Oil and Natural Gas in Queensland released by the Minister for Natural Resources and Mines identifies the key policy and regulatory considerations for the deep gas industry.

Mr Cotter said the State Government, as the industry policy setter and regulator in Queensland, has a responsibility to stay abreast of latest industry developments, ongoing scientific research and technologies and community expectations.

Mr Cotter said the framework's 12 recommendations target many of the relevant issues that are front of mind for rural landholders and regional communities seeking to coexist with the onshore gas industry across Queensland.

However, Mr Cotter said one area he would like to see priority given to is local business, employment and infrastructure opportunities, especially roads and telecommunications in any future Cooper Basin industry development strategy.

"Local communities want to see local benefits and that message was reiterated again by far southwest councils and community representatives at the recent RegionsQ forum held in Charleville," he said.

Mr Cotter said the framework acknowledges there are differences between deep gas and coal seam gas (CSG), but also identifies the common issues such as protecting groundwater, safety and environmental standards and engaging with communities.

Mr Cotter said the framework recognises that proactive community engagement is crucial to the development of deep gas industry in Queensland.

"The GasFields Commission's charter includes all onshore gas regions in Queensland and over the past 12mths has been actively working with shale and tight gas explorers, local councils, landholders and communities in these emerging deep gas regions."

Mr Cotter also noted the recommendation that the Government will investigate whether to expand the role of the CSG Compliance Unit to include deep gas.

"The CSG Compliance Unit has and continues to play an effective compliance, education and engagement role for the community in the Surat Basin and I see real value in extending their overview role across the entire onshore gas industry in Queensland," he said.

The GasFields Commission will continue to monitor landholder, community and industry input and reaction to the new framework for deep gas development in Queensland, and will provide advice to Government accordingly.