The State Government has today granted conditional approval to QGC Pty Limited's multi-billion-dollar Queensland Curtis Liquefied Natural Gas project (QCLNG) near Gladstone.
Premier Anna Bligh confirmed today that Coordinator-General (CG) Colin Jensen had completed his review of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the BG Group-owned project and approved it with strict conditions.
Ms Bligh said the CG's conditions included community and social benefits such as the provision of affordable housing for Gladstone and the Western Downs.
"The Queensland Curtis LNG project could create up to 8,000 jobs and boost economic benefits in key gas fields and industrial regions," Ms Bligh said.
"In addition, a plan will be developed by QGC to seek to ensure the maximum number of local and Queensland suppliers are involved in the delivery of this project.
"As part of the Coordinator-General's conditions, project proponent QGC will develop an Integrated Project Housing Strategy to address the need for additional affordable housing.
"QGC will facilitate the development of worker's accommodation in the order of 250 dwellings for the Gladstone region and in the order of 280 dwellings on the Western Downs.
"In addition the proponent is required to mitigate impacts on accommodation for low income households that may be effected by project induced rent and house price increases.
"This may include QGC's facilitation of the development of hundreds of additional dwellings for Gladstone and Western Downs residents relative to the size of the project's workforce.
"Further contributions will include funding for community facilities and services through QGC's Social Impact Management Plan.
"This is a great step forward for Queensland and we now await the Federal Government's consideration of this project under its environmental laws.
"If all the necessary approvals are granted and the company confirms its final investment decision later this year, the project could be shipping supplies from 2014.
"This project proposes to extract coal seam gas from the Surat Basin and pipe it to Gladstone for liquefaction.
"It would then be shipped to Asian markets and beyond-further boosting the state's international reputation as a reliable provider of high-quality energy resources.
"The project is expected to generate more than $6 billion a year in exports, employ up to 8,000 people during construction and 820 people during its operation.
"And it would stimulate further investment in the expanding coal seam gas industry, which is steadily increasing its share of the Australian energy market."
QGC is proposing to build the LNG liquefaction and export facility near Gladstone at North China Bay, Curtis Island. The Curtis Island facility would have an initial capacity of 8.5 million tonnes of LNG per annum (mtpa)-with the potential to expand to 12 mtpa.
The project would require expansion of QGC's gas fields and a 340km pipeline linking the gas fields to the Curtis Island facility.
Ms Bligh said the venture was the second Queensland LNG project to get conditional approval.
"The QCLNG project is the second on Curtis Island to have been declared under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act-the first being Santos' Gladstone LNG, the third being Origin/ConocoPhillips Australia Pacific LNG and the fourth project is Shell Australia LNG,'' Ms Bligh said.
"The Coordinator-General has imposed strict conditions on this project to ensure its social and environmental impacts are reduced and managed.
"For example, the Coordinator-General will require QGC to provide community infrastructure, such as affordable housing, worker's accommodation and improved roads.
"The development and operation of the project will involve further consultation with communities and councils, to capture the benefits which the project brings to regional skills and economies-and to mitigate any adverse impact on local culture and infrastructure.''
QGC will have to obtain many other key environmental, production licences and safety approvals required under various state laws and as conditioned by the CG before any construction can start.
Coordinator-General Colin Jensen welcomed feedback from the community and agencies during the consultation phases of the EIS assessment - all of which has led to the rigorous conditions to manage the scale of impacts and give certainty over land access.
"All LNG proponents will have to work together to optimise the pipeline route from Gladstone to Curtis Island to minimise environmental effects," Mr Jensen said.
"I have also set in place a condition that makes the proponent legally obligated to 'make good' on negative impacts on landholders' groundwater bores.
"My conditions are clear and will not allow salt from coal seam gas water to leach into the environment.
"One of the community's major concerns was accommodating the workers during the construction stage.
"I will require the majority of workers to be housed in temporary quarters on Curtis Island to lessen the effects on housing prices in the already competitive Gladstone market.''
Another key condition is the establishment of Regional Community Consultative Committees (RCCC) in Gladstone and the gas fields.
"The goal of these Regional Community Consultative Committees is to keep residents informed of the project's progress and to address any concerns they have," Mr Jensen said.
To view the CG's report visit www.dip.qld.gov.au/projects.energy/gas/queensland-curtis-lng-project.html
Premier and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Anna Bligh
Minister for Infrastructure and Planning
The Honourable Stirling Hinchliffe