22 April 2024

Proposed legislation to expand GasFields Commission’s remit

Planned legislation to address how communities and the resources and energy industries sustainably work and thrive together was introduced into Parliament last week.

The GasFields Commission welcomed the Queensland Government’s proposed amendments to the GasFields Commission Act 2013 as part of the Mineral and Energy Resources and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2024.

The Bill reflects the evolving needs of Queensland’s energy transition and speaks to emerging challenges for communities.

The amendments would see the GasFields Commission maintain its independence with a name change to ‘Coexistence Queensland’.

GasFields Commission, CEO, Warwick Squire, said it was fitting to expand the organisation’s remit to address coexistence matters across the State’s broader resources and renewable energy sectors given industry’s growth.

“The energy landscape is rapidly transforming, which brings about the emergence of new coexistence challenges and opportunities,” Mr Squire said.

“The Commission’s experience as an independent organisation makes us well placed to assist industry and communities to navigate challenges and harness opportunities.

“For over a decade, the GasFields Commission has been widely respected for helping bridge coexistence challenges between the Queensland onshore gas sector, and landholders and communities.”

In 2023, the GasFields Commission delivered a review of coal seam gas-induced subsidence.

The review’s recommendations informed the proposed Act amendments and led to important regulatory change to boost landholder protections and provide clarity on obligations.

Mr Squire said this demonstrated the GasFields Commission’s capacity and capability in facilitating sustainable coexistence between the gas sector and communities.

“It’s about listening to locals, engaging with a broad cross section of stakeholders, and understanding what the current and emerging priorities are for industries and communities.

“We pride ourselves in leading – the Commission brings everyone together in the same room to collaboratively test and resolve issues affecting shared interests in economic, environmental and socially responsible outcomes.”

GasFields Commission Chair, John Anderson, said coexistence has been woven into the fabric of shared landscapes for thousands of years.

“The concept of coexistence is not new – our ancestors understood the delicate balance between using and preserving natural systems and resources through passing on traditions of stewardship between generations,” Mr Anderson said.

“We safeguarded the longevity and integrity of our shared landscapes that are central and essential to our being.

“Our shared goal should be clear – to achieve balanced outcomes that meet community and industry needs by way of understanding and respecting the intricate relationships between people and place, and progress and preservation.

“Coexistence is not just about modern-day extraction and production, it calls us to practice shared stewardship of our ancient precious lands, winds, and waters where the benefits of socially and culturally-aware industries are accessible to, and enjoyed by all – Traditional Owners, landholders, local businesses, and the broader community.

“As we navigate the complexities of new ways of doing business, let’s draw from shared knowledge in co-creating pathways to health and prosperity where communities, and energy and resource sectors thrive in harmony.”

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