A newly released 2016 CSIRO Community Wellbeing and Responding to Change survey measured perceptions of wellbeing, resilience, adaptation to change, and expected future wellbeing within five communities affected by CSG development in the Surat Basin – Dalby, Chinchilla, Tara, Miles, and Roma. It was funded by the Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA). GISERA is a collaborative vehicle established to undertake publicly-reported independent research addressing the socio-economic and environmental impacts of Australia's natural gas industry.
This survey documents the changes in community attitudes and feelings from the height of the CSG construction boom in 2014, to the start of the industry's operational phase in 2016.
The survey results show that there was a decrease in satisfaction in relation to jobs and employment opportunities, which was an inevitable and expected result at the end of the construction phase of development. The biggest improvements were in roads (road condition, safety, and amount of traffic on the roads) and the quality of the environment (e.g. dust and noise and underground water management). However, although there was an increase in satisfaction in relation to roads, residents were still dissatisfied overall with roads in the region.
Even though some aspects of wellbeing decreased and others improved, overall community wellbeing in the Western Downs region in 2016 remained robust and similar to 2014. However, when asked about the future wellbeing of their communities, residents thought that it would likely decline over the next few years.