THE NSW Gas Plan is the government’s new strategic framework to protect our water and environment while delivering vital gas supplies for the state.
Our water resources are protected through the most comprehensive regulatory controls for the gas industry in the nation.
The NSW government has introduced important protections, including an Aquifer Interference Policy, code of practice for well integrity and fracture stimulation and banned the use of harmful volatile organic compounds, benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene (BTEX chemicals), and evaporation ponds.
The NSW Gas Plan is the next step. It outlines the path to achieving a world class system to protect our water, environment, critical agricultural land and communities.
The NSW government has adopted all the recommendations by the independent NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, Professor Mary O’Kane, to ensure the new regulatory framework for the gas industry is based on science and is world’s best practice.
This new science-based regulatory framework adopts a strong compliance and enforcement regime, enhanced environmental monitoring, improved protections and benefits for landholders and communities.
The NSW Gas Plan introduces a new strategic release framework, which is a system that puts the government back in control of the release of title areas for exploration.
This will allow the government to identify the most appropriate areas for exploration through a careful examination of economic, environmental and social factors with community consultation conducted up-front.
Exploration for gas will be done on our terms.
The Environment Protection Authority, Office of Coal Seam Gas and the NSW Office of Water all monitor and supervise gas operations to ensure companies comply with the high engineering and environmental standards which now apply in NSW.
The independent Environment Protection Authority (EPA) will be proactive and fearless in its new role as the lead regulator for compliance and enforcement of conditions of approval for gas activities.
A project to provide baseline information about the state’s groundwater has been started by the government. The Groundwater Baseline Project is mapping and gathering data on the water used by agriculture, industry and mining.
This will ensure we have the critical data to ensure the use of our water is sustainable and available for future generations, while ensuring any changes to our water supplies are detected early.
The first areas to be analysed are the Gunnedah, Gloucester and Clarence Moreton basins. More information on these and other water projects are available from water.nsw.gov.au
The NSW Gas Plan signals a new era for the gas industry and NSW.
The government’s new science based regulatory framework protects our precious water and environment, ensures communities have a voice and we have a world-class regime to secure vital gas supplies for the state’s manufacturers, businesses and households that rely on gas every day.
For more information, please visit gasplan.nsw.gov.au