The Geological and Bioregional Assessment Program will assess the potential impacts of shale and tight gas development on water and the environment.
In May 2017, the Australian Government announced a new program of bioregional assessments to be conducted in three onshore areas that are underexplored but prospective for shale and tight gas (geological and bioregional assessments).
This work extends the current program of coal and CSG bioregional assessments to include studies of the potential impacts from shale and tight gas projects on the environment. The new work will provide independent scientific advice to governments, landowners and the community, business and investors.
The Australian Government has selected the following regions for assessment:
- The Cooper Basin, which spans south-west Queensland and north-east South Australia.
- The Isa Superbasin, which covers parts of northern Queensland, extending east from the Northern Territory border.
- The Beetaloo Sub-basin, which lies southeast of Katherine in the Northern Territory.
The assessments will outline any potential environmental impacts of shale and tight gas extraction, and consider appropriate mitigation and management approaches. This transparent, science-based approach aims to assist in building understanding of shale and tight gas developments.
The program will produce geological and environmental data and tools that will assist regulators with planning, assessment and reporting. It will provide regulators and industry with a common information base to help inform decision-making and enhance the coordinated management of cumulative impacts.
The program comprises three stages:
- Stage 1 narrows the focus of the assessments to select three regions for detailed study. This step was completed in April 2018. The report can be found via the link below.
- Stage 2 will analyse available data for the three selected regions and identify gaps to guide collection of additional baseline data where needed. Stage 2 is currently underway.
- Stage 3 will analyse the potential impacts to basin geology, water resources and other Commonwealth and State matters of environmental significance to enable effective monitoring, mitigation and management measures. Stage 3 will commence in 2019.
- Bioregional Assessment Program
- Lake Eyre Basin bioregion
- Northern Inland Catchments bioregion
- Clarence-Moreton bioregion
- Northern Sydney Basin bioregion
- Sydney Basin bioregion
- Gippsland Basin bioregion
- Indigenous assets
- Bioregional assessment methodology
- Compiling water-dependent assets
- Assigning receptors to water-dependent assets
- Developing a coal resource development pathway
- Developing the conceptual model of causal pathways
- Surface water modelling
- Groundwater modelling
- Propagating uncertainty through models
- Systematic analysis of water-related hazards associated with coal resource development
- Impacts and risks
- Assessment components
- Component 1: Contextual information
- Component 2: Model-data analysis
- Components 3 and 4: Impact and risk analysis
- Component 5: Outcome synthesis
- Geological and Bioregional Assessment Program
- Metadata and datasets