Coal seam gas review helping reduce red tape

“The focus of the inquiry has been to find more cost-effective ways to meet existing regulatory goals. The QCA is recommending reforms which would streamline regulation without changing environmental standards or the rights of landowners,” said QCA chairman Malcolm Roberts.

“We have consulted widely with government, industry and community groups throughout the review. Stakeholders believe a simpler, more transparent regulatory system is important as much for community confidence as for reducing government and industry costs.

“Moreover, streamlining regulation will help agencies concentrate time and resources on their key responsibilities,” said Malcolm Roberts.

“The QCA recognises that the State Government is implementing numerous reforms to improve regulation of the CSG industry. Our report concentrates on reforms which would complement these changes.

“The QCA has found opportunities to reduce duplication between departments. For example, there is no benefit to the community in having two departments regulate water from CSG operations.

“Complex, prescriptive regulation does not guarantee better environmental results. Outcomes-based regulations can be more effective by focusing attention on results rather than a check list of compliance obligations.

“The QCA’s proposal to introduce standard conditions for some CSG production activities follows the successful use of standard conditions for CSG exploration.

“Departments are assessing their regulatory services to find opportunities for greater use of third party providers. The QCA report identifies a range of regulatory services which could potentially benefit from being opened to contestability.

“The QCA estimates that eventually the reforms identified in its report could save industry about $55 million a year and reduce government costs by almost $4 million a year,” said Malcolm Roberts.