CSG plans approved despite red flag

Queensland Country Life, 23.11.2010

ENVIRONMENT and Water Minister Tony Burke was warned by his department of “significant concerns” that $35 billion of coal-seam gas projects in Queensland could damage water supplies, cause land subsidence and interfere with reforms in the Murray-Darling Basin.

Advice from the Water Group within Mr Burke’s department said the companies had been “extremely conservative” in their estimates of how much water they would take from the Great Artesian Basin. The minister’s department said it could be “at least 1000 years” before water levels recovered.

It warned that gas extraction was “likely to have a significant impact” on native springs and implications for the Murray-Darling Basin by reducing water in the Condamine Alluvium, The Australian Financial Review reports.

The companies have estimated there may be 30 centimetres of land subsidence, but the Water Group suggested it could be much more, noting that previous extraction in the region had caused land movements of up to several metres.

The advice was labelled “draft” and provided to Mr Burke in that form. It has been tabled in response to a Senate motion, along with hundreds of other files that informed his decision to approve the projects on October 22.


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