The Queensland Government has again angered the mining industry over plans to introduce cash bidding for coal seam gas (CSG) exploration.
State Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Andrew Cripps, announced the new plan at a gas conference in Brisbane which will see a move from controlled land releases to a tender process, the ABC reported.
Cripps says the first offering of petroleum and gas areas will released in the coming weeks to both local and international companies using a “competitive cash bidding process.”
“The preferred tenderer emerging from the competitive cash bidding will gain the exclusive right, subject to certain conditions, to explore for petroleum and gas resources on the land made available through the tender,” he said.
Under the current system, companies receive exploration licenses based on how they will develop mining operations.
The new system means they will have to outbid each other for the licence as well.
However the CSG industry is not happy with the plan saying that regulation and costs surrounding the sector are already too high.
Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) spokesman David Byers pointed to taxes, royalties and community protests as all putting pressure on the industry.
In March, newly elected Premier of Queensland Campbell Newman said he did not plan on over regulating the industry, pointing to environmental standards as being the main concern.
"There will be tougher environmental standards and the science needs to be done in some of these more different geological areas when there are concerns about groundwater," he said at the time.
The LNP government has also come under fire recently for hiking the price of coal royalties, with companies saying the move will affect their competitiveness in the global market.