Gas plays an essential role in providing affordable, secure and reliable electricity for Australians.

Message from the director

Gas plays an essential role in providing affordable, secure and reliable electricity for Australians. We need the best available evidence and data to respond to community concerns about the potential environmental and social impacts associated with unconventional gas extraction. The ideas of the Australian Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel in his independent review in to the future of the national electricity market reflect the challenges facing the onshore gas sector.

Dr Finkel’s comments in his report, released this month, also cut to the heart of the purpose of the Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA). Our aim is to provide quality assured scientific research and information to communities living in gas development regions focusing on social and environmental topics. This blueprint provides opportunities for GISERA to help make a difference in this area of national priority.

This newsletter offers an insight into a range of the latest projects now underway within GISERA, including human health impacts of coal seam gas (CSG), and other work underway in New South Wales and Queensland.

Throughout the next six months our NSW projects are expected to start providing draft results and among them is a scoping study to investigate the human health impacts of CSG. The scoping study involves reviewing current knowledge and gaining expert advice to design a study into potential health impacts from CSG activities.

Meanwhile, a commitment of $4 million from the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science aims to support expansion of the GISERA nationally. The funding contribution provides an opportunity to develop robust science and community engagement across new states and territories. We look forward to sharing more details shortly.

GISERA’s portfolio of Queensland research has reported many outputs over the past six months, with our Economic assessment and forecasting project developing an animation and communique to provide information and ideas to help regional businesses deal with the rollercoaster of change generated by development of the CSG industry, including forecast of indirect jobs over the next 20 years in the Western Downs region of Queensland.

In other Queensland research, scientists have been in the field during April gathering information for our Constraining water flows in the Surat Basin project. The field work involves gathering water samples from bores and using a variety of tracers to study different aspects of groundwater flow and groundwater mixing in the aquifers which the bores are accessing. This project has also produced a factsheet for landowners involved in the study.

Finally, we have launched our updated GISERA web presence at: www.gisera.org.au.  Make sure you visit the site and give us your feedback!

Last updated: 12 January, 2018

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