Minister for Natural Resources and Mines
The Honourable Andrew Cripps
Government supports Surat Basin resource sector growth
Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Andrew Cripps today outlined Newman Government plans to support economic growth in the Surat Basin Energy Resources Province.
In a keynote address to the Surat Basin Coal and Energy conference in Brisbane, the Minister said the resource sector would play a critical role in reining in Queensland’s $2.8 billion budget deficit and reducing the state’s unemployment to 4%.
“The significant thermal coal and coal seam gas (CSG) resources in the Surat Basin have the potential to create a significant number of jobs in local communities. They have already super-charged the economies in towns like Chinchilla, Dalby and Roma,” Mr Cripps said.
“Conversion of that CSG into liquefied natural gas (LNG) to export from Gladstone is set to make Queensland one of the principal suppliers of LNG to the Asia-Pacific region. By 2018 we will be the third largest LNG exporter in the world.”
Mr Cripps told delegates the State government’s role is to strike a policy balance in regions like the Surat Basin that supports growth in the coal and gas sector, protects the environment and respects other land uses like agriculture.
“We have listened to resource industry concerns about a lack of investment confidence and have already begun the process of streamlining resource sector regulation,” he said.
“We are committed to creating a more stable regulatory environment and restoring Queensland’s investment reputation, both nationally and internationally.
“Initiatives such as the Newman Government’s Streamlining Project will assess new tenure applications in a timely fashion, while preserving the integrity of the approvals process for resource projects.”
The Minister emphasised however, that rapid growth in the Surat Basin, particularly in CSG production, is not without its challenges.
“There is a need for CSG companies particularly to show a commitment to improving t heir relationship with the agricultural sector and securing the trust of the broader community,” he said.
“The Gasfields Land and Water Commission will play a key role in ensuring CSG companies earn their social licence to operate by respecting landholders and the environment.”
Mr Cripps said the introduction of Statutory Regional Plans, especially on the Darling Downs, should also ensure that controversy is replaced by clear planning.