Australia Institute challenges coal seam gas benefits

Left-leaning think tank The Australia Institute has raised questions over the expected economic benefit provided by the coal seam gas industry.

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Left-leaning think tank The Australia Institute has raised questions over the expected economic benefit provided by the coal seam gas industry.

In a report yesterday TAI senior research fellow David Richardson said a Santos commissioned report by Allen Consulting Group did not prove the CSG industry would provide a huge economic benefit to the community.

Richardson said Santos’ own modeling showed the benefits of CSG to locals would be "quite small" and the major beneficiaries would be the owners of Santos.

He said the Santos modeling showed "only 30 new gas jobs are expected to be created in the operational phase of the development".

He also said 570 new public sector jobs would be created, and economic output in NSW would grow by $821 million.

"Due to the fact that the Allen Report does not provide a clear outline of the critical assumptions that they made readers are at a disadvantage in trying to understand how such a small increase in direct employment could create nearly $1 billion in additional economic activity," he said.

"Similarly, the reader is left to wonder how an investment in coal seam gas creates 570 new public sector jobs as the report’s authors provide no discussion of this intriguing conclusion."

After their release Richardson’s comments sparked heated debate on Twitter and were quickly rejected by Santos spokesperson Matt Doman.

The coal seam gas industry has previously claimed it has spent about $10 billion, mostly in Australia, and created around 9,000 jobs.

Yesterday APPEA chief operating officer Rick Wilkinson also said that in Queensland alone the industry was expected to generate 18,000 jobs and pay $850 million in state tax annually.

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