Two days after the New South Wales Government unveiled a suite of new measures designed to toughen controls on coal same gas extraction activities in the state, a new management plan for the industry has been released in Queensland.
Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Andrew Cripps released the DNRM Coal Seam Gas Engagement and Compliance Plan 2013 this morning, which set out the activities the department will undertake to ensure CSG impacts are effectively managed.
Mr Cripps said features of the plan included better community engagement, more field inspections and audits and a firm approach to industry non-compliance.
“The Newman Government supports the development of Queensland’s CSG industry, but recognises the balance between the interests of industry, rural landholders, regional communities and our environment,” Mr Cripps said in a media release annonucing the changes.
“This is not an industry that will be established at any cost. We will continue to expect high standards and work towards the continuous improvement of Queensland’s CSG industry.
“The engagement and compliance plan is a key part of the Newman Government’s overall strategy for the responsible oversight and regulation of the CSG industry.
“It illustrates the range of CSG engagement and compliance activities that will be undertaken in 2013.”
Mr Cripps said activities will be coordinated by the new CSG Compliance Unit, which replaces the former LNG Enforcement Unit with a renewed focus to implement the plan.
“The unit will work closely with other key government agencies such as the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and the GasFields Commission to regulate the CSG activities and build community confidence in the management of the industry,” he said.
“One key feature of the plan for 2013 will be a more proactive approach to inspecting, checking and auditing Queensland’s CSG industry.
“This year, for example, we randomly will inspect 250 CSG wells, audit 45 per cent of all CSG drilling activities and inspect 80 per cent of CSG seismic activities to ensure industry conducts activities in a safe manner and in compliance with Australian standards and codes.
“We intend to take a firm approach to non-compliance and to deter further nonconformity.
“Protecting Queensland’s important groundwater resources is another major priority, so we will check and measure standing water levels in 300 water bores annually and verify the accuracy of water data supplied by CSG companies.”
The CSG Compliance Unit will be led by Executive Director, Bill Date, and includes groundwater, petroleum and gas experts and staff specialising in land access issues.
“We will proactively engage with the community, local government and the CSG industry as well as respond to landholder enquiries, issues and complaints,” Mr Date said.
“Through better engagement, communities will have a better understanding and awareness of CSG activities in their region.
“For example, departmental officers will attend at least 20 landholder meetings in 2013. We will also process landholder requests for information, assess groundwater impacts and investigate complaints.
“CSG companies, through a range of industry engagement strategies, will also have an improved understanding of their responsibilities to the department and to the communities in which they operate.”
Further information is available at: www.industry.qld.gov.au/lng/index.html