Senate inquiry into the impact of unconventional gas mining in Australia

How to write a submission for the Federal Senate inquiry into the impact of unconventional gas mining in Australia

After his shock in visiting communities affected by gasfield developments in southern Queensland, Senator Glenn Lazarus has successfully campaigned for the establishment of a Senate Select Committee to inquire into the impact of unconventional gas mining in Australia.

A cross-parliamentary committee will now interrogate the health, social, business, agricultural, environmental, landholder and economic impacts of unconventional gas mining in a federal Senate inquiry.

This is our opportunity to show what we believe to be extensive negative impacts of the unconventional gas industry. This includes how it has already impacted communities where the industry is established, and the strain already experienced by communities facing potential gasfield developments.

Your submission will help us get the negative impacts of gasfields documented by parliament and the media. It may have significant impact on future legislation, both federal and state, regarding unconventional gas mining.

All submissions will be recorded, and testimony at inquiry hearings will be recorded on hansard. Stay tuned for more information on Inquiry hearings in Victoria.

The closing date for submissions is the 14th of March, 2016.

The committee is scheduled to report before June 30 this year.

To make a submission:

A submission may be as short or as long as you like. It may contain facts, opinions, arguments or recommendations. It may cover all the points in the terms of reference or only some of them, depending on what interests you. Supporting documents may be attached.

There is no prescribed format. However, to make submissions most powerful we suggest:


  • Start by introducing yourself (a little bit about who you are/ where you live/ what you do for a living/ why you're concerned about unconventional gas mining)


  • Make it clear in your opening statement that you do not support any form of unconventional gas mining (including coal seam gas, tight gas, shale gas & underground coal gasification)


  • If you live in a community that has conducted a survey, mention these results and that you and your community have removed the social licence for this industry to operate in your area and that you will never support it, no matter the potential regulations put in place.


  • When writing a submission it would be best to address all (of the following) terms of reference, but you can add/ remove the issues that matter to you. (ADD - That’s right, if the terms of reference do not cover all the issues you want to talk about, then add them in, this is allowed and will strengthen your submission)


  • Don’t forget to recommend that we ban all unconventional gas drilling permanently (and the benefits of a total ban eg. giving certainty to existing industry (agriculture & tourism) certainty to families, making rural Australia a more attractive place for investments in these industries plus new investments such as renewables, which will create more long term jobs in sustainable industries.)

Submissions can be made by the 14th of March by online submission, email or post. For more information visit this site:

Terms of Reference:

  1. That   a   select   committee,   to   be   known   as   the   Select   Committee   on Unconventional Gas Mining, be established to inquire into and report on or before 30 June 2016, on the following matter:

    The adequacy of Australia‘s legislative, regulatory and policy framework for unconventional gas mining including coal seam gas (CSG) and shale gas mining, with reference to:

    1. a national approach to the conduct of unconventional gas mining in Australia;

    2. the health, social, business, agricultural, environmental, landholder and economic impacts of unconventional gas  mining;

    3. government  and  non-Government  services  and  assistance  for  those affected;

    4. compensation and insurance arrangements;

    5. compliance and penalty arrangements;

    6. harmonisation  of  federal  and  state/territory  government   legislation, regulations and  policies;

    7. legislative and regulatory frameworks for unconventional gas mining in comparable overseas  jurisdictions;

    8. the unconventional gas industry in Australia as an energy provider;

    9. the   current   royalty   and   taxation   arrangements   associated   with unconventional gas mining; and

    10. any related matter.


Impacts you may want to cover in your submission:






This is why we need your voice!  You can help protect local families and the future of rural Australia by making a submission to the Senate inquiry into the impacts of unconventional gas mining.


Here is a list of impacts that are relevant to the terms of reference. It is quite OK not to address all the terms of reference in your submission.


Health Impacts

local children have near universal and severe skin irritations and asthma which worsens with proximity to the gas fields. Severe and recurrent nosebleeds are common. 

Severe neurological effects: McCarron found one third of children at Tara had parasthesia (abnormal sensations and numbness) and some had “abnormal movements” (central nervous damage).

Severe effects on the unborn: US studies have shown 100% increase in neural tube defects and 30% increase in congenital hear defects. 

Huge increase in particulates which are class one carcinogens

Wide range of toxic chemicals which show levels 10-100x above safe levels

Existing health reports have suffered from poor methodology such as being based on affected people volunteering information only or intermittent testing which was discontinued, and are also hampered by the confidentiality agreements


Enviromental Impacts

release of very potent green house gases including methane, that nullify any GHG saving associated with the transition from coal to gas

unconventional gas extraction uses masses of water, draining our scarce water resources

aquifer contamination with toxic chemicals

release of naturally occurring BTEX compounds and other contaminates into the atmosphere and into groundwater

• “produced water” is left in ponds that will inevitably leak or spill or sprayed on local roads

multiple earthquakes are associated with fracking and csg globally

toxic acid rain which strops paint off cars (Ph 4.36 McCarron)

failure rates of gas wells increase each year


Agricultural Impacts

contamination of water (flammable water) with toxic chemicals, leading to poisoning of livestock and contamination of our high quality agricultural industry products

increase in groundwater and soil salinity

depletion of groundwater

contamination of water (flammable water) with toxic chemicals


Community Impacts

immediate community impacts include division and mistrust, then falling property values as the industrial process occurs and health impacts start to bite, agriculture being impacted, followed by families being bought out under confidentiality agreements, and communities being closed or relocated. Mental health impacts.

unconventional gas extraction has near universal local disapproval, is strongly resisted, and proceeding is against communities self determination