Understanding the role of onshore gas, as Australia transitions from a reliance on coal to renewables, remains an important element of the energy debate.

Message from the director

Understanding the role of onshore gas, as Australia transitions from a reliance on coal to renewables, remains an important element of the energy debate.

Likewise, CSIRO’s Gas Industry Social and Environmental Gas Industry Alliance (GISERA) plays a vital role in injecting science into decision making around future energy options.

For more than five years GISERA has been strengthening Australia’s scientific knowledge of the challenges and opportunities of the onshore gas industry, providing independent science for communities living in gas development regions, for the governments overseeing them, and industries looking to invest in them.

In the past six months alone, the Alliance has been sharing new research into potential gas industry development in New South Wales through a range of briefings in Sydney and regional NSW. A series of projects based around the proposed Narrabri Gas Project in the state’s northwest is providing scientific evidence to better understand potential impacts to the local community if coal seam gas development were to proceed.

Baseline information on methane emissions and community wellbeing allow for scientifically-robust comparisons in the event that the industry proceeds. As well, the interim results of a groundwater modelling study in the region has provided an independent estimate of the range in potential maximum impacts on water volumes of the Great Artesian Basin aquifer, the Pilliga Sandstone, under a generalised development scenario.

These are just some of the nine GISERA projects which currently focus on New South Wales. This research, along with research outcomes from Queensland’s Surat Basin, was the focus of the annual GISERA symposium in Brisbane in October. More than 50 people attended the presentation of completed research addressing the social and environmental impacts and opportunities arising from onshore gas development. As well invited speakers provided perspectives from government, industry and academia. Speakers included Dr David Freudenberger (pictured above), a member of the Queensland Regional Research Advisory Committee.

The Alliance’s inaugural Stakeholder Roundtable Group meeting was held in Sydney on Monday November 13, 2017. The roundtable gathers perspectives to help CSIRO identify how GISERA can better serve stakeholders.

The meeting provided stakeholder representatives from diverse backgrounds with an opportunity to express their views on what they perceived was working well, issues and areas of concern, and perspectives for improvement and GISERA’s future focus. We look forward to the next meeting in April 2018.

The new year also promises to yield outcomes in a range of ongoing research, including the release of a health study framework, due for release in 2018.

We look forward to sharing these stories and more in the coming year. As always, your feedback is appreciated. Don’t hesitate to contact us at gisera@gisera.csiro.au.

Cheers, Dr Damian Barrett, GISERA Director, and Director of CSIRO’s Onshore Gas program.

Last updated: 12 January, 2018

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