RESEARCH: Harold and Beryl Rennick, Dr Kathy Witt, Prof Nicole Gillespie, Cr Kaye Maguire, and Greg West at the 'What happens when CSG comes to town?' workshop.
RESEARCH: Harold and Beryl Rennick, Dr Kathy Witt, Prof Nicole Gillespie, Cr Kaye Maguire, and Greg West at the 'What happens when CSG comes to town?' workshop. Brooke Duncan

When CSG comes to town: researchers share their findings

RESEARCHERS from the Centre for Coal Seam Gas have toured the region to share their latest findings looking into the impact of the CSG industry on local communities.

The researchers visited Roma, Miles, Chinchilla, Dalby, and Toowoomba to run workshops which centred around social and economic changes in towns impacted by CSG, as well as changes in levels of trust between stakeholders and the industry.

For research fellow Dr Kathy Witt, after watching the boom and bust of industry, she said the region overall is entering a 'recovery phase'.

"I think one of the stand outs for Chinchilla was a marked increase in capability in the manufacturing industry in Chinchilla between 2009 and 2018, we didn't see that in Miles,” Dr Witt said.

"We saw the reverse of that in Miles, so there was a decline in the manufacturing industry, but Miles had an increase in things like rental and hiring and real estate, and also the transport industry.”

That said, according to Dr Witt, the turnaround won't be rapid.

"I think we're going to continue to see changes, particularly as the rents start to increase again, we'll continue to see changes but I foresee a slow recovery.”

Meanwhile, Professor Nicole Gillespie focussed on changes in trust between stakeholders and the industry overall.

One of her key messages was that landholders and regulators have both increased their trust of CSG companies since 2015, however, landholders still have the lowest levels of trust compared to regulators, community members, and industry employees.

"Generally there's I think a sense that there had been some improvements in the industry, in the regulatory framework and the way that the industry is being managed and I think we're hearing more of acknowledgement about some of the improvements,” Prof Gillespie said.

"But that's not to say that there aren't still ongoing concerns, and we're also hearing a message that there's further to go, that the industry can go, to improve the way that it's operating and to ensure that community and landholder trust.”


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