Environmental program safeguards gas resource development

The Hon Sussan Ley MP, Minister for the Environment

The Hon Keith Pitt MP, Minister for Resources and Water

A landmark environmental study into onshore gas resource development in Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory will strengthen environmental safeguards and allow greater certainty for industry.

The four year Geological and Bioregional Assessment (GBA) Program has investigated potential environmental and water-related impacts from unconventional gas resource development in three onshore gas provinces in Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said the detailed environmental assessments carried out through the program provide reassurance that effective environmental safeguards are in place.

“The program found that potential impacts can be avoided, mitigated or managed through compliance with existing regulatory or management controls,” Minister Ley said.

“Regional assessments were carried out by some of Australia’s most respected science institutions and technical experts, including Australia’s national science agency CSIRO and Geoscience Australia, with support from the Bureau of Meteorology and the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

“The result is a comprehensive set of data assessments, backed by real world evidence, setting out the ways in which industry needs to plan.”

Minister for Resources and Water Keith Pitt said the $35.4 million GBA Program has laid the groundwork for sustainable unconventional gas resource development and would allow industry to move forward responsibly and quickly.

“The innovative GBA Explorer tool developed by the program will assist industries, regulators and communities to evaluate the impacts of unconventional gas resource development on water and the environment,” Minister Pitt said.

“The program assessed a huge amount of information, but the tool allows users to simplify the assessment to the key matters of interest for each individual.

“The Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources will use the data and tools produced by the program to inform the Australian Government’s plan for unlocking the resource potential of the Beetaloo Sub-basin in the Northern Territory.

“This will be the first of five Strategic Basin Plans to be delivered under the Gas-fired Recovery Strategy announced in the 2020-21 Federal Budget.”

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