This morning an article appeared on the ABC Queensland website accompanied by radio reports alleging that the former LNP government cut funding for coal seam gas compliance activities.
These allegations are false. The ABC article claims to have obtained cabinet documents that show that the budget for overseeing the CSG industry was repeatedly cut. This is inaccurate.
State budget documents covering this period clearly document that the allegations in this ABC article are incorrect. In fact, the 2011-12 budget, the last budget of the Bligh government, allocated no money for CSG compliance activities.
Today in Parliament I tabled an extract from the 2011-12 state Budget Measures document which shows the last budget allocation for CSG compliance activities was made by the Bligh government in 2010-11, with the 2011-12 forward estimates left vacant. (Tabled paper: Extracts, Budget Measures 2013-14)
In fact, the incoming LNP government were confronted with an unfunded allocation by Labor, a measure we accommodated in our first 2012-13 State Budget. (I also tabled a State Budget Measures extract to support this statement).
In addition to covering Labor’s $9 million shortfall, the former LNP government allocated an additional $3.6 million to CSG compliance activities in our first budget in 2012-13. (I tabled the Budget Measures extract to support that statement).
In our second budget, the former LNP government provided a further $11 million for coal seam gas compliance activities across the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Department of Energy and Water Supply and the Department of Natural Resources and Mines.
This represents the largest state budget allocation ever by any Queensland government for CSG industry oversight, supervision, compliance and regulation – something the LNP did in recognition of community concerns about this issue.
In our third budget, the former LNP government put into place the very first substantial long-term funding for CSG compliance activities, with a $23.4 million allocation over four years – again, more than any other Queensland government.
This funding was allocated through the departments previously mentioned but, in addition, funded the activities of the newly established GasFields Commission. (Today I also tabled a State Government Budget Measures extract that clearly demonstrated these allocations).