MEDIA RELEASE: Billions at stake if governments fail to manage unconventional gas development
Posted : Sunday, September 02, 2012
Billions of dollars in investment and thousands of jobs are at
stake unless governments can find the right balance between meeting
community expectations and allowing industry to progress
unconventional gas developments, CEDA's latest policy perspective
CEDA, Chief Executive, Professor the Hon Stephen Martin said in
releasing CEDA's Australia's Unconventional Energy
Options today that successful development of this resource
could provide a lower emission energy source than traditional
supplies such as coal and deliver tens of thousands of jobs.
"Currently we are seeing superficial arguments that pit farmers
or environmentalists against miners. This is holding back the
discussions that need to take place to progress this issue, which
is why CEDA has undertaken this work," he said.
"With the exception of Queensland, development of unconventional
energy in Australia is still in its infancy. However, the main
unconventional gas source in Australia, coal seam gas, represents
about one quarter of Australia's economically demonstrated
resources of gas from all sources.
"In Queensland we are already seeing significant developments
progressed. However, the full potential of unconventional energy
resources across Australia can only be realised if it continues to
have a social licence to operate.
"In recent weeks we have seen further protests in NSW and a
moratorium being discussed in Victoria for coal seam gas
extraction, which shows that the social licence to operate is in
"You can't expect zero risk with any industry, but a balance can
be struck between communities, protecting the environment and
miners, provided the right checks and balances are put in place by
government and are implemented quickly.
"However, further delays may see this industry's social licence
to operate irrevocably damaged."
Professor Martin said CEDA's policy perspective draws together
five experts to explore key issues identified by CEDA around
unconventional energy development in Australia including:
- The economic opportunities for Australia;
- Ground water management and property rights issues;
- Gaps in the current legislative and regulatory regimes;
- Lessons Australia can learn from the US experience in
developing these resources.
"CEDA is consequently calling for improvements in community
consultation and land access negotiation processes, and for
industry to adopt OECD community consultation best practice
standards," he said.
In addition, Professor Martin said specifically around water
management, CEDA is calling for:
- Unconventional energy water use to be integrated into regular
water allocation frameworks;
- Industry to be required to develop a risk management framework
that applies stringent precautionary measures until more is known
about the long term implications for water resources of
unconventional energy extraction; and
- Water management requirements for unconventional energy
extraction to be made long enough to ensure industry is responsible
for all consequences of the activity.
"While many of these issues fall to state and territory
governments to manage, the potential economic significance of this
industry for Australia means the Federal Government should also be
working with the states and territories to ensure consistency
across jurisdictions," Professor Martin said.
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