Townsville Bulletin

Funds for gas plans slammed


ENVIRONMEN­TAL lobbyists are questionin­g a federal funding splash to investigat­e gas resources across Central Queensland, suggesting the announceme­nt is destined for a Senate inquiry.

Lock the Gate Alliance says the $20.7m fund for the North Bowen and Galilee Basin Strategic Basin Plan appeared to include “re-announceme­nts”, including $5m for a feasibilit­y study for a gas pipeline.

The group said the funding followed Blue Energy’s comments on funding, and subsequent state and federal announceme­nts.

Resources Minister Keith Pitt announced the basin plan fund in Mackay on Thursday – he said $15.7m would be spent on gas field trials and drilling programs to scope the region’s potential, and $5m would fund studies on new pipelines developmen­t.

The pipelines would be cofunded with the state government.

It was billed as the next step in the federal government exploring gas fields, tapping into reserves large enough to supply Australia’s east coast needs for more than a decade.

Lock the Gate Alliance national co-ordinator Carmel Flint said the federal government was “intent on throwing more taxpayer funds at gas giants”.

“I’m sure the North Queensland tourism industry would love some big grants right now to support their businesses, which have done it tough during Covid, but instead it’s gas companies who are raking in the cash to explore for gas to export overseas,” she said. “There are more than 7000 producing coal seam gas wells in the Surat and Bowen Basins in Queensland already – this industry does not need a handout.”

The plan would create 5500 jobs in the next nine years, and would leverage more than $400m in research funding and critical infrastruc­ture upgrades.

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