New compulsory reporting requirements have been introduced for petroleum and gas companies planning exploration and production.
The laws were introduced today and include a stipulation that companies must give affected landholders at least 10 days written notice of any drilling, fracking or certain exploration techniques, according to Queensland’s Employment, Skills and Mining Minister Stirling Hinchliffe.
Companies will also be required to submit detailed reports to government about hydraulic fracturing activities, including the composition of all fluids used in each well and potential impacts on aquifers.
The issue of coal seam gas (CSG) and its impacts on water aquifers during the fraccign process has been a major concern in Queensland recently.
Landowners have protested against gas companies who are allowed to place up to 500 wells on their properties and the malfunctioning wells that emit dangerous levels of toxic chemicals.
Hinchcliffe said the Bligh Government is in support of the Queensland mining and resource industries developing, but stressed the importance of balancing it with agricultural and environmental considerations as well as the social impacts it can cause.
"These new laws are designed to make sure landholders know exactly what is happening on their land and when it is happening," Mr Hinchliffe said.
"They apply to all activities including hydraulic fracturing used in producing Coal Seam Gas, drilling, completing or abandoning a well or bore as well as seismic and other surveys associated with exploration or production.
"This will also help the government monitor the use of chemicals in the extraction of Coal Seam Gas in Queensland."
The new laws aim to keep landholders informed at every stage of the process, and companies are also now required to give notice within 10 business days of approved work being completed.
Hinchcliffe said the new requirements are the result of consultation with the community and hearing their concerns about the impacts resource exploration and production have on rural landholders.
"We are committed to striking the right balance between landholders’ interests, our environment and economic development," he said.
"These new regulations build on the added protections we have already delivered for landholders.
The new restrictions also eliminate the use of dangerous toxic chemicals in the fracking process.
"We have banned the use of BTEX compounds and new land access laws also help ensure landholders receive fair compensation and have a say about how activities are conducted by companies.
"We’ve also established the Surat Basin Engagement Committee to help make sure all stakeholders have a forum where they can discuss and resolve issues about Coal Seam Gas."