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The National Partnership Agreement on Coal Seam Gas and Large Mining Development

What is the National Partnership Agreement on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development agreement?

The purpose of this agreement is to create a consistent national approach to strengthen the regulation of coal seam gas (CSG) and large coal mining development by ensuring that future decisions are informed by substantially improved science and independent expert advice.

Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Northern Territory are signatories to the National Partnership Agreement on Coal Seam Gas and Large Mining Development (NPA).

The overarching objective of the NPA is to strengthen the regulation of coal seam gas and large coal mining development by ensuring that future decisions are informed by substantially improved science and independent expert advice. To achieve this objective, the NPA provides for the following outcomes:

  • increased evidence supports strategic and regional scale management of coal seam gas and large coal mining developments and their impact on water resources
  • strengthened scientific evidence and independent expertise informs regulatory decisions on coal seam gas and large coal mining developments that are likely to have a significant impact on water resources
  • well informed communities have greater confidence in Commonwealth and state regulation of coal seam gas and large coal mining development.

What is the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development (IESC)?

The IESC is a statutory committee of leading scientists that independently advises government regulators on the impacts that coal seam gas and large coal mining development may have on Australia’s waters resources. This committee advises the Australian Government and state government regulators in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria.

The IESC has developed Information Guidelines (the Guidelines) which outline the information considered necessary to enable the IESC to provide robust scientific advice to government regulators on the water-related impacts of coal seam gas and large coal mining development proposals.

What does this mean for my assessment?

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC Act) states that the Australian Government regulator must request our advice on the potential impacts to water resources from coal seam gas and large coal mining development proposals. In accordance with the terms of the NPA the Queensland Government published the Protocol for referral of projects to the Independent Expert Scientific Committee (PDF, 552KB) which specifies how we decide which project applications should be referred to the IESC for advice. The Queensland Government will seek advice from the IESC during the environmental impact statement (EIS) public submission period.

In their advice, the IESC considers all potential impacts on water resources. This includes the effects on groundwater, surface water, water quality and quantity, ecosystems and ecological processes based on :