South­west gas in­dus­try to serve as an ex­am­ple

Balonne Beacon - - NEWS - Jorja McDonnell [email protected] west­ern­starnews.com

IN­TER­STATE vis­i­tors were wel­comed by the re­gion’s gas in­dus­try last week for a fact-find­ing mis­sion, with del­e­gates from Ten­nant Creek in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory look­ing use lo­cal op­er­a­tions as a blue­print for their own gas fields, which are soon to be es­tab­lished.

Tour­ing Roma and the outer gas fields over three days, Barkly Re­gional Coun­cil mayor Steven Edg­ing­ton trav­elled with a eco­nomic devel­op­ment com­mit­tee chair Greg Mar­low to learn from the ex­pe­ri­ences of busi­nesses, com­mu­nity groups and lo­cal gov­ern­ments around the gas fields.

Mr Mar­low said there was plenty to look at across the re­gion, not just in terms of op­er­a­tions, but in broader eco­nomic and so­cial terms too.

“We were based here for three days to have a chat to a num­ber of or­gan­i­sa­tions like the coun­cil, cham­ber of com­merce, and the lo­cal Abo­rig­i­nal cor­po­ra­tion in or­der to look at what the ef­fect of the gas in­dus­try has been on Roma.

“With the prospect we have in the Ter­ri­tory, what we want to do is re­duce the risks that have hap­pened here, re­duce the down­side, and make it a bit eas­ier for in­dus­try and other play­ers to ad­vance the gas in­dus­try in the Ter­ri­tory,” he said.

“Ob­vi­ously with the peak and the drop-off here, there have been some busi­nesses that came to town and then left again.

“We wanted to know: how did the long-term busi­nesses cope with those times, and what can we learn from them?

Mur­ray Cor­nish, com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor of the Gas Fields Com­mis­sion, ad­mit­ted Queens­land didn’t get ev­ery­thing right.

“Queens­land didn’t nec­es­sar­ily get the lux­ury to put a lot of thought in to the CSG in­dus­try as it ar­rived, so it’s good to see the Ter­ri­tory learn­ing from Roma,” he said.

The visit from of­fi­cials look­ing to grow the gas in­dus­try was con­cur­rent with an­other group with an in­ter­est in gas op­er­a­tions around Ten­nant Creek, Don’t Frack the Ter­ri­tory.

A bus load of ad­vo­cates also toured towns and gas wells across the south­west, many of them landown­ers want­ing to know more and learn from the first hand ex­pe­ri­ence of peo­ple in the re­gion.

One lo­cal, St Ge­orge’s Leanne Brum­mell, said she had met with the anti-frack­ing group on their stop in her town, and took the op­por­tu­nity to share sto­ries of peo­ple from the re­gion.

“Peo­ple aren’t lis­ten­ing to the sto­ries from the peo­ple liv­ing in the gas fields.

“For ex­am­ple, peo­ple don’t even know they’re frack­ing 30km out­side of Su­rat.”

PHOTO: DEPART­MENT OF EN­ERGY

ROLE MOD­ELS: Gas op­er­a­tions in the south west will be serv­ing as an ex­am­ple for in­ter­state de­vel­op­ments.

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