Arrow Energy’s $15 billion LNG project has been granted state approval by the Queensland Government.
The proposed project is set to be the fourth development on Curtis Island near Gladstone.
Arrow’s LNG plant is projected to create around 3,500 jobs, and convert 18 million tonnes of coal seam gas a year into LNG ready for export.
The Shell and PetroChina owned plant must now gain Federal approval before a final investment decision is signed off.
Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney said the decision was important in the progression of the massive project, which would provide a much needed boost to the Queensland economy.
“While Arrow still has some work to do, with financial close and CSG supply components to be finalised, it certainly reinforces Curtis Island and Gladstone as the Pacific LNG hub,” Seeney said.
Seeney said Arrow had had undertaken a comprehensive set of marine and land studies which had been thoroughly and professionally assessed by state and local government.
“Key issues as part of the Coordinator-General’s evaluation include management of hazardous operations, project transport, including transportation of workers to Curtis Island, impacts on coastal water quality and marine flora and fauna,” he said.
“The Coordinator-General also considered potential social impacts relating to increased costs for housing and demand for existing social services and has set a comprehensive range of strict construction and operating conditions on the project.”
Seeney said he expects the Federal government to make a decision within the next 30 days.
But with a Federal Environment Minister yet to be named, opponents of CSG activity are urging the new government to slow the process down.
Capricorn Conservation Council spokesman Michael McCabe said it would be ‘irresponsible’ to approve the project, ABC reported.
"Any new government takes a while to gear up into action. I guess we are probably a couple of weeks before we see the final shape of Federal Parliament,” he said.
"All of those things that have now been approved at the state government level need much more thorough review by the Federal Government.
"Thirty days is too short a time."
Lock the Gate said Arrow's project would involve drilling at least 1500 CSG wells on some of the best farming land in Queensland, AFR reported.
"This port is the first step in opening up Cecil Plains, located on the rich Darling Downs, to coal seam gas mining," spokeswoman Hannah Aulby said.
"This is a very important test for the incoming Federal Government – Tony Abbott himself has repeatedly stated that farmers should have the right to say no to CSG and that water resources should be protected.
"We're asking him to stand up for the Darling Downs, reject the Arrow gas plans for the region and knock this ill-conceived gas export plant on the head."
However, the Federal government will not have to consider the downstream elements of the project, such as CSG wells, just the LNG facility.
The wider project will involve two large pipelines, one from the Surat Basin and one from the Bowen Basin, which have already been approved.
Yet to be cleared are the Surat and Bowen CSG field development plans, which would involve hundreds of CSG drilling projects.
Cecil Plains farmer Ruth Armstrong, from Save our Darling Downs, said final approval for CSG development on the Downs now seemed inevitable.
"To date, the Surat gas project hasn't been approved and yet the pipeline and the Curtis Park infrastructure have already been approved," she said.
"I think it's been quite clear for some time now that the Queensland State Government are interested in having a coal seam gas industry and they're interested in having it wherever it wants to go and they really don't have a whole lot of regard for agriculture any more."