$30 million dollars is being haemorrhaged from the Queensland state coffers every year by government departments responsible for regulating the coal seam gas (CSG) industry, a new report has found.
The report, released by the Queensland Competition Authority, found that $29 million a year was spent on CSG regulation activities, while fees from the industry only recouped $14 million.
The report also found waste and red tape duplication is costing the state government $15 million each year.
Other key findings of the report include:
- The policy of “excessive reporting” was creating an unnecessary work load for both government and the industry.
- Currently both the Department of Energy and Water Supply and the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection monitored CSG water management. This created unnecessary and expensive duplication.
- Standard conditions should be set for CSG bores.
- Some of the monitoring activities currently being undertaken by the government be privatised.
QCA chairman Malcolm Roberts said, “We have consulted widely with government, industry and community groups throughout the review. Stakeholders believe a simpler, more transparent regulatory system is important as much for community confidence as for reducing government and industry costs.”
“Moreover, streamlining regulation will help agencies concentrate time and resources on their key responsibilities,”
“The QCA has found opportunities to reduce duplication between departments. For example, there is no benefit to the community in having two departments regulate water from CSG operations.
“Complex, prescriptive regulation does not guarantee better environmental results. Outcomes-based regulations can be more effective by focusing attention on results rather than a check list of compliance obligations.
“The QCA’s proposal to introduce standard conditions for some CSG production activities follows the successful use of standard conditions for CSG exploration.
“Departments are assessing their regulatory services to find opportunities for greater use of third party providers. The QCA report identifies a range of regulatory services which could potentially benefit from being opened to contestability.
The full report is available at www.qca.org.au