Resources chief tells inquiry CSG mining is here to stay

A RESOURCES chief has told a parliamentary inquiry which is looking at protecting agricultural land from coal seam gas mining if the proposed bill was passed it would damage the state's reputation.

Queensland Resources Council resources policy director Andrew Barger told the agriculture, resources and environment committee on Wednesday coal stream gas mining was here to stay.

The committee, chaired by Member for Lockyer Ian Rickuss, is exploring whether coal seam gas mining should be exempt from prime agriculture land across the Darling Downs and in other parts of the state.

"We are fortunate we have an energy source that is craved by our neighbours across south-east Asia," Mr Barger said.

"We are in a very unique position," he said.

"It is another economic string in Queensland's bow.

"We can provide the food in the fry pan as well as provide the energy to cook it."

Mr Barger told the committee he believed both agriculture and coal seam gas mining could co-exist, but warned it was not as easy as simply drawing a line on a map and saying this is where you can not mine.

"We fully support co-existence," he said.

"There has been a lot of water under the bridge since the bill was introduced.

"If you are making policy in a rushed way, you run the risk of opening up other consequences."

Mr Barger said if the bill was passed it would open up a Pandora's box of issues.

"If this bill was to be passed it would be extremely dramatic," he said.

"The state's reputation in relation to investment would be severely damaged.

"You would effectively be putting up a sign saying we are closed for business.

"Not only now, but into the future."

The committee then heard from Condamine Catchment Management Association vice-president John Standley who said Toowoomba Regional Council did not serve the interest of landholders as it has claimed in the past.

He said the council were one of the major financial backers of Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise which is an industry lobby group.

"How can councillors give a balanced and independent view when the council is funding TSBE," he said.

"No-one's voice is heard. They are only listening to the resources sector."