An updated report by the CSIRO’s Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA) confirms that community wellbeing and acceptance of industry in surveyed onshore gas regions remains robust.
The multi-year survey report, Trends in community wellbeing and local attitudes to coal seam gas development, 2014 – 2016 – 2018, surveyed residents in the Western Downs and eastern Maranoa regions in Queensland and documents changes and trends in community wellbeing, resilience and local attitudes to CSG development over time and across different industry phases.
The findings? Overall, there is a high level of acceptance, tolerance and approval of onshore gas development – and community wellbeing remains robust.
For example, the below graph details the attitudes towards onshore gas development in the Western Downs region (2014 – 2016 – 2018) and eastern Maranoa (2018), detailing varying degrees of industry acceptance ranging from “tolerate it” to “embrace it”.
In 2018, attitudes towards development highlighted that 81% of people tolerated, accepted, or approved.
An important factor to take into account when assessing an individual’s level of acceptance of the onshore gas industry related to their exposure to and understanding of it – with the report noting that:
“People with previous experience with the industry, either through family and friends working in the industry, or they themselves working in the sector, had higher confidence in their knowledge about water impacts, well integrity and the local industry than people who didn’t have this type of connection. They also indicated lower levels of concern about impacts on air, water, and health, as well as a lesser need for more information.”
Community wellbeing formed another important element of the GISERA survey, as it noted that:
“In 2018, overall community wellbeing for the Western Downs region remained robust (M = 3.75) and virtually unchanged over the four year period. As shown in Figure 15, community wellbeing levels in the eastern Maranoa were also very robust in 2018 (M = 3.96).”
The bottom line: when properly educated and engaged with, communities are more accepting of industry across the life cycle and development stages for an onshore natural gas project.
GISERA is a collaborative vehicle between CSIRO, Commonwealth and state governments established to undertake publicly reported independent research addressing the socio-economic and environmental impacts of Australia’s natural gas industries. The governance structure for GISERA is designed to provide for and protect research independence and transparency of funded research. See www.gisera.org.au for more information about GISERA’s governance structure, funded projects, and research findings.