The industry has matured and is now more viable. This is because the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy and Department of Environment and Science (the regulators), the GasFields Commission Queensland (the commission) and companies have invested in their relationships with landholders and communities.
The regulators have developed an effective framework for approving, monitoring and regulating coal seam gas activities, environmental obligations, and safety within the legislation. However, landholders and other stakeholders are still concerned about the framework’s effectiveness in managing issues such as priority agricultural areas, offsite impacts, and long term environmental effects.
The regulators’ current systems limit their ability to provide an overall, collective view of how effective their regulatory activities are. The systems also limit their ability to share information and coordinate activities. They could better coordinate their compliance planning, and information and data sharing.
For the government’s coexistence policy to be successful, the regulators and the GasFields Commission must continue to adapt as unresolved concerns persist, new issues emerge, and the science continues to evolve. The ongoing evolution of the industry will require government to continually evaluate and refine its regulatory framework.