12 Nov 2015
Australia does not need another politically motivated and costly federal parliamentary inquiry into the natural gas industry.
The Senate inquiry announced today will cover issues that have already been exhaustively investigated by numerous independent or parliamentary inquiries.
A host of respected experts such as the Australian College of Learned Academies, the Royal Society in the UK, the NSW Chief Scientist and the Northern Territory’s Hawke Inquiry have confirmed that shale and coal seam gas development is low risk when properly regulated.
The gas industry is confident that the facts will show an industry which is safe, responsible and enormously beneficial to Australia, especially to regional communities.
It also covers matters that are comprehensively addressed through the existing national framework for regulation of the coal seam gas industry and state and territory legislation regulation.
The rights of land owners are protected in State legislation. Land owners are fairly compensated for any impact from operations (more than $200 million has been paid to land owners in Queensland).
In Queensland, there are further protections for prime agricultural land which ensure that development does not occur if it would significantly affect strategic cropping areas. In NSW development is only possible at a small number of sites.
Queensland demonstrates successful co-existence of the gas industry and other industries. The gas industry understands the natural sensitivity of land owners to activities by third parties on their land. The industry respects land owners. Since 2011, more than 5000 land access agreements have been voluntarily signed between land owners and gas companies.
The independent Gasfields Commission supports land owners and communities.
The result is a fair system which provides huge benefits to regional communities and Queensland generally. Queensland now has an $80 billion industry that barely existed six years ago.
Thousands of jobs have been created, unemployment levels in regional areas have fallen and government revenues are boosted by large and growing royalty payments.
The industry is accustomed to activists’ fear campaigns despite the fact it employs thousands of people, engages in safe operation and provides essential energy to millions of households and local manufacturers. Download PDF