The Interim Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Coal Mining ceased operating in November 2012. The statutory Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development is now in operation.
The Interim Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Coal Mining website is no longer being updated and maintained but remains here as an archive for your information.
One of the key roles of the Interim Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Coal Mining is to scope and advise on bioregional assessments in areas where coal seam gas and/or large coal mining developments are underway or planned.
Bioregional assessments will undertake a scientific analysis of the ecology, hydrology and geology of an area for the purpose of assessing the potential risks to water resources in the area as a result of the direct and indirect impacts of coal seam gas development or large coal mining development.
Bioregional assessments will be conducted in conjunction with relevant state and territory government agencies and natural resource management bodies, and will involve an assessment of all available water, and related ecological data. If appropriate, bioregional assessments may involve the acquisition of new water-related data. The results of these assessments will assist in providing advice to governments about specific coal seam gas or coal mining proposals as well as providing valuable information to the community and industry about the water-related resources and risks in an area.
The bioregional assessment process will examine the specific conditions of regions to allow for timely and high level advice on the impacts of coal seam gas and coal mining operations on environmental and water assets. The interim committee has provided initial priority regions for bioregional assessments to the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.
Priority Regions for Bioregional Assessments
The Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, the Hon Tony Burke MP, has announced the initial areas where the Interim Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Coal Mining will undertake bioregional assessments. It is expected that additional regions will be announced following further advice from the interim committee.
The initial regions announced are:
- Queensland – Lake Eyre Basin, which is underlain by the Galilee, Cooper and Pedirka coal bearing basins;
- New South Wales and Queensland – Northern Inland Catchments, incorporating the Namoi, Border Rivers-Gwydir, Maranoa-Balonne and Macquarie-Castlereagh coal bearing basins. This area is underlain by the Gunnedah and Surat basins;
- New South Wales – Northern Sydney Basin and the Gloucester Basin, encompassing the Hunter Central Rivers and Hawkesbury-Nepean natural resource management regions;
- New South Wales – Southern Sydney Basin, encompassing the Southern Rivers, Sydney Metro and Hawkesbury-Nepean natural resource management regions; and
- Queensland – Clarence-Moreton Basin, encompassing the South East Queensland and Northern Rivers natural resource management regions.
Determination of these five broad regions was based on an understanding of numerous important factors such as:
- the extent of the current level of exploration activity for coal seam gas and the number of current and potential coal seam gas and coal mining developments in these regions
- areas where there is a high level of uncertainty and lack of information and data to assess and understand the potential impacts and cumulative impacts of coal seam gas and coal mining developments; and the presence of water assets of concern to the Australian Government.
Bioregional Assessments MethodologyAs part of the bioregional assessment process, a bioregional assessment methodology panel was established in March 2012 to prepare a bioregional assessment methodology that would identify how bioregional assessments should be conducted. The Panel consists of the following five members:
- Terms of Reference for the bioregional assessment methodology (PDF - 19 KB) | Terms of Reference for the bioregional assessment methodology (Word - 29 KB)
A bioregional assessment methodology report has been produced and is currently being reviewed. Those participating in the peer review of the bioregional assessment methodology report are:
- A representative from each of the signatory states of the National Partnership Agreement via the Reference Group
- 8 national experts, and
- 8 international experts.
Once the review process is complete the committee will consider the reviewers comments and provide its recommendation on amendments prior to the report being published.Back to top