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Geological and Bioregional Assessment Program

Geological and Bioregional Assessment Program

In 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).

The Geological and Bioregional Assessment Program will assess the potential impacts of shale and tight gas development on water and the environment. This work will provide independent scientific advice to governments, industry, landowners and the community.
The Australian Government has selected the following regions for assessment:

  • The Cooper GBA region, which spans south-west Queensland and north-east South Australia.
  • The Isa GBA region, which covers parts of northern Queensland, extending east from the Northern Territory border.
  • The Beetaloo GBA region, which lies south-east of Katherine in the Northern Territory.

The assessments will examine the 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, tools and knowledge that will assist regulators and industry with planning, assessment and reporting. It will provide regulators and industry with a common information base to help inform decision-making and enable the coordinated management of cumulative impacts.

The program comprises three stages:

  • Stage 1: Rapid Regional Prioritisation narrows the focus of the assessments to select three regions for detailed study. This step was completed in April 2018.
    The Rapid Regional Prioritisation report can be found here.
  • Stage 2: Baseline analysis analyses available data for the three selected regions and identifies gaps to guide collection of additional baseline data where needed. This step was completed in 2020.
    The Stage 2 report for the Cooper GBA region can be found here
    The Stage 2 report for the Isa GBA region can be found here.
    The Stage 2 report for the Beetaloo GBA region can be found here.
  • Stage 3: Impact analysis and management assessment analyses the potential impacts to water resources and Commonwealth and state matters of environmental significance to enable effective monitoring, mitigation and management measures. Stage 3 is underway and is expected to be completed by 2021.

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Last updated:
15 May 2020