The onshore gas industry can impact on regional communities in a variety of ways. Increased traffic flows can impact significantly on existing road networks, while fluctuations in resident and nonresident workforces can impact on existing housing, water, and waste and sewerage infrastructure.
This checklist provides a range of prompts for Councils about the ways that industry operations could affect their activities and the delivery of infrastructure and services to their local community.
Councils who engage early with onshore gas companies in their local area and work through these issues from the outset may be better positioned to plan for future infrastructure and longer term economic growth.
This list is not exhaustive and should only be used as a guide. Councils may have individual concerns not addressed here that need to be discussed with companies.
Key considerations for local government
- Has Council provided briefings to the proponent/s on the region's planning scheme, including zoning maps and strategic land use to encourage discussion and management of possible impacts? For example, is there sufficient residential and industrial land?
- Has Council conducted pre-development assessments of assets (such as roads) to establish a baseline for measuring and monitoring future impacts and operations?
- Has Council considered any changes required for rating methodologies, e.g. for petroleum leases, workers camps?
- Has Council given consideration to the placement of worker camps, e.g. inside or outside the town boundary, on or off tenure?
- Has Council considered how to manage impacts by other parties which support the gas companies but which are separate legal entities (e.g. Powerlink, quarries)?
- Community Facilities and Services
- Does Council have a road infrastructure agreement in place?
- Has Council considered the depreciation of assets and the ongoing effect on budget (i.e., any road, airport or other infrastructure improvements which need to be depreciated in budgets)?
- Has Council considered any potential need for upgrades to energy networks?
- Has Council considered the impacts on the telecommunication network?
- Has Council conducted planning / projections on required community infrastructure to be ready to identify potential funding partnerships with industry and other levels of government?
- Has Council considered traffic management strategies, including hours of operation and managing routes around local school bus runs?
- Environment and Health
- Has Council considered the impacts on local health services / police / schools?
- Does Council have dust or other environmental monitoring procedures and agreements in place?
- Has Council considered the impacts on housing - affordability / availability? What are the projected housing / accommodation requirements in the short term (1-3 years), medium term (4-10 years) and longer term (> 10 years)?
- Has Council conducted adequate research into the potential demand on water / sewerage / waste infrastructure?
- Has Council considered potential impacts on local weed and pest management plans, including location and operation of weed wash-down facilities, both permanent and mobile?
- Employment and Business
- Has Council considered the business opportunities for their community (for example, engaging with the local Chamber of Commerce or regional economic development organisation)?
- Has Council considered impacts on the local workforce (retention of key workers within the community and retention strategies for Council's own workforce also)?
GasFields Commission Queensland's Role
One of the GasFields Commission's key roles is to liaise with and assist local governments in their understanding of and relationships with the onshore gas industry in Queensland to help plan and manage impacts and upgrades to local services and infrastructure.