Enhanced protections recommended for landholders in areas affected by CSG-induced subsidence
A series of changes relating to the management of CSG-induced subsidence have been recommended to Government by the Commission Queensland following a comprehensive regulatory review.
Commission CEO Warwick Squire said the Regulatory review of coal seam gas-induced subsidence report and recommendations follow landholder concerns around what protections exist should their farming operation suffer economic loss due to land subsidence as a result of coal seam gas production.
“CSG-induced subsidence is a significant concern for landholders in areas of land used for irrigated and dryland cropping, particularly on southern Queensland’s Condamine Floodplain,” Mr Squire said.
“We know that CSG-induced subsidence has and will continue to occur as CSG development extends across some of our best farming land.
“Initial Office for Groundwater Impact Assessment modelling indicates that most of the cropping area around the Condamine River floodplain, south of Dalby, is likely to experience less than 100 mm of subsidence, however, it was also observed that some areas may experience subsidence levels of up to 175 mm.
“For this reason, it is vital we have a good understanding of how this could impact farming operations and how landholders are protected should impacts occur.
“The recommendations are the result of an extensive review of the existing regulations along with research into the potential consequences of CSG-induced subsidence.
“They have been developed through comprehensive engagement with landholders, agricultural and resources peak bodies, government and industry.
“It is important to note that there are already protections in place for landholders relating to compensation if they experience economic impacts as a result of CSG-induced subsidence.”
Mr Squire said the recommendations seek to build on and enhance existing protections and provide clarity to landholders and the gas sector.
“The Commission’s recommendations focus on using scientific understanding of subsidence to identify areas where a higher level of management and landholder engagement may be required based on risk of material impact occurring,” Mr Squire said.
“Importantly, the framework proposes a clear pathway for both landholders and gas companies to agree how to monitor, measure and manage any impacts should they occur.
“The recommendations seek to ensure landholders can access specialist advice and information so they are equipped to deal with gas companies around subsidence.
“Additionally, we have recommended dispute resolution processes for when a landholder and a resource company can’t reach an agreed way forward.”
The proposed management framework will be underpinned by the best available science – work the Commission is also leading in partnership with the Office for Groundwater Impact Assessment.
“The Commission has also recommended the investigation of potential impacts to regional overland flow caused by CSG-induced subsidence, another matter which is of concern to landholders,” Mr Squire said.
“Consistent with the Commission’s focus on coexistence, the recommendations provide a balanced and risk-based approach to addressing the issue of CSG-induced subsidence and if implemented will provide the necessary protections for landholders and certainty for industry.”
View the Commission Queensland Regulatory Review of CSG-induced subsidence final report here.
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