Southwest gas industry to serve as an example
INTERSTATE visitors were welcomed by the region's gas industry last week for a fact-finding mission, with delegates from Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory looking use local operations as a blueprint for their own gas fields, which are soon to be established.
Touring Roma and the outer gas fields over three days, Barkly Regional Council mayor Steven Edgington travelled with a economic development committee chair Greg Marlow to learn from the experiences of businesses, community groups and local governments around the gas fields.
Mr Marlow said there was plenty to look at across the region, not just in terms of operations, but in broader economic and social terms too.
"We were based here for three days to have a chat to a number of organisations like the council, chamber of commerce, and the local Aboriginal corporation in order to look at what the effect of the gas industry has been on Roma.
"With the prospect we have in the Territory, what we want to do is reduce the risks that have happened here, reduce the downside, and make it a bit easier for industry and other players to advance the gas industry in the Territory,” he said.
"Obviously with the peak and the drop-off here, there have been some businesses that came to town and then left again.
"We wanted to know: how did the long-term businesses cope with those times, and what can we learn from them?
Murray Cornish, communications director of the Gas Fields Commission, admitted Queensland didn't get everything right.
"Queensland didn't necessarily get the luxury to put a lot of thought in to the CSG industry as it arrived, so it's good to see the Territory learning from Roma,” he said.
The visit from officials looking to grow the gas industry was concurrent with another group with an interest in gas operations around Tennant Creek, Don't Frack the Territory.
A bus load of advocates also toured towns and gas wells across the southwest, many of them landowners wanting to know more and learn from the first hand experience of people in the region.
One local, St George's Leanne Brummell, said she had met with the anti-fracking group on their stop in her town, and took the opportunity to share stories of people from the region.
"People aren't listening to the stories from the people living in the gas fields.
"For example, people don't even know they're fracking 30km outside of Surat.”