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Onshore Gas and Other Unconventional Gas

This page contains reports and links to various sources of information on issues around the exploration and production of onshore gas and other unconventional gas. Wellington Shire Council does not authorise, endorse or validate information by including it on this page. Inclusion on this page is for information purposes only.


Federal Government

The regulation of the coal seam gas and coal mining industries is primarily the responsibility of the state and territory governments who are also responsible for making decisions in relation to the licensing of mining and extractive industries. The role of the Australian Government in regulating coal seam gas and coal mining proposals focuses on proposed projects which could have a significant impact on matters protected by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. This includes matters of national environmental significance, actions involving the Commonwealth and actions taken on, or impacting on, Commonwealth land.

Further Information:


The Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities has commissioned a report entitled Assessment of Impacts of the Proposed Coal Seam Gas Operations on Surface and Groundwater Systems in the Murray Darling Basin (2MB).

The CSIRO aims to characterise, and improve understanding of Australia's unconventional gas resources in order to evaluate resource potential and assess long term sustainability. The CSIRO website contains fact sheets and downloads on topics including gas facts.


Victorian State Government

Onshore oil and gas exploration, development and production approvals are issued and administered by the State Government through the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning under the Petroleum Act 1998 and Petroleum Regulations 2000.  The State Government provides comprehensive community information on natural gas through the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources.

Victorian Parliament's Economic Development and Infrastructure Committee has delivered a report entitled Inquiry into Greenfields Mineral Exploration and Project Development in Victoria (3MB). The report considers the benefits and drivers of greenfields mineral exploration and project development in Victoria and the Committee is asked to consider possible barriers to greenfields exploration and development, as well as project attraction in Victoria in the context of a globally competitive industry, and to identify appropriate responses that government and industry may take.

The Victorian Government engaged an independent facilitator to undertake a 12 month community and stakeholder engagement program for onshore gas.  Over 2,000 Victorian residents participated in open days, key stakeholder meetings, discussion groups and community panels.  The final report was released in May 2015.  It's key findings state that 27% of respondents indicated they do not support the introduction of an onshore natural gas industry, while 29% do support and 44% indicated they are undecided.  There were only slight differences between metropolitan Melbourne and rural respondents.

On Wednesday 27 May 2015, the State Government asked the Environment and Planning Committee to inquire into the exploration, extraction, production and rehabilitation for onshore unconventional gas and announced that the current moratorium for all onshore gas activities including exploration, drilling and hydraulic fracturing will remain in place until the inquiry reports to Parliament.  On 1 September 2015 the Committee tabled its interim report.  The final reporting date for this inquiry is 1 December 2015.  Once the report is tabled in the Parliament, an electronic copy will be available for download on the Parliament of Victoria website.


NSW State Government

Mineral and petroleum resources in New South Wales are mostly owned by the State. Applications for coal and petroleum exploration licences are subject to a public comment process which provides communities with the opportunity to comment on applications for exploration licences.

The main CSG production project in NSW is the Camden Gas Project in the Southern Coalfields of the Sydney Basin. This AGL Energy project has been producing gas since 2001 and currently supplies around 6 per cent of the NSW gas market. CSG projects under development in NSW include:

  • Expansion of the AGL Camden Gas Project in the Sydney Basin
  • The AGL Gloucester Gas Project in the Gloucester Basin
  • The Metgasco Richmond Valley Power Station and Casino Gas Project in the Clarence-Moreton Basin
  • The Santos Narrabri Gas Project in the Gunnedah Basin

Coal Seam Gas activities are regulated by the Division of Resources and Energy in the Department of Trade and Investment. The Division's website contains a range of fact sheets and documents which detail the Government's position and management of the coal seam gas industry in NSW.

In February 2011, the State Government released the NSW Government Coal and Gas Strategy - Scoping Paper (210KB). The Scoping Paper was prepared to:

  • Provide a brief overview of the coal and coal seam gas industry, its place in the State and regional economies, and its potential growth prospects over the next 25 years, especially in response to the expected increase in global energy demand
  • Identify the key environmental, economic, social and health issues likely to be associated with growth in the coal mining and coal seam gas industry, and initiatives already being taken by the Government to address these issues
  • Outline key additional initiatives that could be taken to manage this growth so the benefits are maximised and the costs and impacts minimised; and
  • Promote community and stakeholder discussion to provide input to the development of the Strategy

In May 2012, the New South Wales Legislative Council, General Purpose Standing Committee No. 5 released its Inquiry into Coal Seam Gas (2MB).


Queensland State Government

The following website provides useful information on the Queensland Government's Coal Seam Gas and LNG industry.

The Queensland Government has developed the Sustainable Resource Communities Policy (166KB). This policy builds on the Sustainable Futures Framework for Queensland Mining Towns realised by the State Government in June 2007. The initiatives contained in this policy reinforce the principles of leadership, collaboration, corporate responsibility, sustainability, communication and community engagement.

The Sustainable Futures Framework for Queensland Mining Towns, produced by the Department of Local Government, Planning, Sport and Recreation seeks to:

  • Provide an overview of existing and potential growth management issues for mining towns situated in the Bowen and Surat Basin
  • Examine existing and proposed responses to growth management issues by the State of Queensland, local government and industry; and
  • Outline a proposed framework for sustainable growth management of mining towns in Queensland

The Queensland Water Commission has a role in the management of water extraction by petroleum tenure holders which includes CSG extraction. The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection website includes information about protecting cropping land, fracking chemicals and make good arrangements.


Southern Rural Water

Southern Rural Water is a water corporation owned by the Victorian State Government. Southern Rural Water operates irrigation districts at Maffra, Bacchus Marsh and Werribee, manages seven major dams and licences groundwater users and river diverters across the southern half of Victoria.

Southern Rural Water's role in any Coal Seam Gas Mining Application in the region includes:

  • Issuing licences to construct bores
  • Licensing and monitoring anyone taking and using groundwater for commercial process; and
  • Assessing applications for licence transfers


Other Organisations and Stakeholders

Industry Organisations and Associations

National Harmonised Regulatory Framework

The Standing Council on Energy and Resources (SCER) has endorsed a National Harmonised Regulatory Framework for Natural Gas from Coal Seams (the Framework).  The Framework delivers on a commitment by Australian governments to put in place a suite of leading practice principles, providing guidance to regulators in the management of natural gas from coals seams and ensuring regulatory regimes are robust, consistent and transparent across all Australian jurisdictions.



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