PERTH (miningweekly.com) - The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (Appea) has called on the Queensland government to clarify its position on natural gas development in the Cooper basin, after reports emerged that the government could be considering environmental legislation to protect rivers.
Reports by The Australian suggest that some policy makers in Queensland are pushing for a ban on new resource development in the region in an effort to protect rivers from large-scale industrial operations.
While details of the proposed policy have not been made available, the state government has remained mum on the possibility that the policy could affect gas exploration and extraction in the region.
Appea Queensland director Rhys Turner warned on Friday that the new regulatory instrument, known as Pristine Rivers, should concern residents of Queensland who valued both jobs and affordable energy.
Turner pointed out that the Cooper basin accounts for 14.5% of Queensland’s natural gas supply, and that natural gas has been produced in the Cooper for 40 years without harming the environment.
He said the media reports were surprising given that the state’s Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham had this week issued statements criticising calls from a rival political party to block opening of new gas reserves in Queensland, saying that the proposal would deny Queensland industry and Queensland jobs and almost decades of gas supply.
“The gas industry welcomed the government’s strong criticism of One Nation for planning to lock up the Cooper basin for future gas activity,” Turner said.
“The Minister was right to warn that restricting gas development in the Cooper would push up electricity prices and cost jobs. But now the government is refusing to rule out doing exactly that.
“The government must come clean on its intentions. It must rule out imposing new restrictions on Cooper gas or risk imposing on Queensland the same gas supply problems that have impacted the southern states,” Turner said.