Regulating coal seam gas in Queensland : lessons in an adaptive environmental management approach?

Swayne, Nicola (2012) Regulating coal seam gas in Queensland : lessons in an adaptive environmental management approach? Environmental and Planning Law Journal, 29(2), pp. 163-185.


The current regulatory approach to coal seam gas projects in Queensland is based on the philosophy of adaptive environmental management. This method of “learning by doing” is implemented in Queensland primarily through the imposition of layered monitoring and reporting duties on the coal seam gas operator alongside obligations to compensate and “make good” harm caused. The purpose of this article is to provide a critical review of the Queensland regulatory approach to the approval and minimisation of adverse impacts from coal seam gas activities. Following an overview of the hallmarks of an effective adaptive management approach, this article begins by addressing the mosaic of approval processes and impact assessment regimes that may apply to coal seam gas projects. This includes recent Strategic Cropping Land reforms. This article then turns to consider the preconditions for land access in Queensland and the emerging issues for landholders relating to the negotiation of access and compensation agreements. This article then undertakes a critical review of the environmental duties imposed on coal seam gas operators relating to hydraulic fracturing, well head leaks, groundwater management and the disposal and beneficial use of produced water. Finally, conclusions are drawn regarding the overall effectiveness of the Queensland framework and the lessons that may be drawn from Queensland’s adaptive environmental management approach.

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15 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 49293
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Funders: ARC
Additional URLs:
Keywords: coal seam gas regulation, environmental law, planning law, energy and resources law, adaptive management
ISSN: 0813-300X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Environmental and Natural Resources Law (180111)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Institutes > Institute for Future Environments
Current > Schools > School of Law
Copyright Owner: © 2012 Thomson Reuters (Professional) Australia Limited
Deposited On: 23 Mar 2012 03:47
Last Modified: 02 Oct 2014 01:52

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