Energy and resources Ministers from across Australia have agreed to develop a national harmonised framework for the coal seam gas industry, and released the associated work program to deliver this framework.
The work program will progress work to address community concern around water management and monitoring, well integrity and aquifer protection, hydraulic fracturing and chemical use.
Ministers made the decision at the inaugural meeting of the Ministerial Standing Council on Energy and Resources in Melbourne today.
“By addressing these issues and publicly releasing the work program, we build further public confidence in the effectiveness of the regulation of the industry,” said Council Chair and Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson AM MP.
“Coal seam gas has an important role to play in Australia's energy mix, and we must ensure appropriate regulation is in place as the industry expands.
“Extensive work has been done to strengthen regulatory arrangements around coal seam gas developments and today's agreement between the states and territories will build on these foundations.”
The new Standing Council on Energy and Resources gives Ministers the opportunity to discuss upstream and downstream energy issues in one ministerial forum.
The Council will seek to ensure the safe, prudent and competitive development of Australia's mineral and energy resources and markets to optimise the long-term economic, social and environmental benefits to the community.
As well as coal seam gas, ministers considered a range of issues including energy market resilience, gas market developments and network regulation.
The meeting communiqué is available online at www.scer.gov.au