QUEENSLANDERS could wave goodbye to thousands of jobs and billions of dollars if the state does not embrace coal seam gas as an energy source and foster the industry, a new report shows.
This entails strengthening the relationship between landholders, environmentalists and mining companies through maintaining a "social licence" to operate.
A Committee for Economic Development of Australia report into unconventional energy options found Australia's governments were putting at risk jobs and financial prosperity by not properly addressing the animosity between some community sectors and mining companies.
The report found that in Queensland alone, if the coal seam gas industry reached its potential, the industry would be responsible for creating more than 20,000 jobs, handing the Australian Government $243 billion in tax revenue and leading to real income increases of $28,300 per person between 2015 and 2035.
But this opportunity for Queensland may be missed if the conflict over coal seam gas exploration, especially in regional areas, was not addressed.
"For farmers, who for successive generations have enjoyed sole access and use of land, the imposition of an additional, albeit, legitimate access to the land for exploration and production of minerals and petroleum, has created a significant impost to business and their lifestyle as it was once enjoyed," the report stated.
"It is a major change to their business operations. Many farmers may see negotiating land access as a threat and risk rather than an opportunity."
The leading economic advisory agency primarily recommended the coal seam gas industry and government balance community expectations with the environment to ensure a social licence to operate.
CEDA chief executive Professor Stephen Martin said superficial arguments pitting farmers against miners was holding back discussions around coal seam gas.
"In recent weeks we have seen further protests in NSW and a moratorium being discussed in Victoria for coal seam gas extraction, which shows that the social licence to operate is in serious jeopardy," he said.
"You can't expect zero risk with any industry, but a balance can be struck between communities, protecting the environment and miners, provided the right checks and balances are put in place by government and are implemented quickly."
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