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Coal seam gas oversight repeatedly cut by Newman government, cabinet documents reveal

The ABC’s Mark Willacy reports (2.3.17) on details of Cabinet briefing documents prepared for the Newman state government, which warned of undesirable consequences ahead of a decision to slash funding for oversight of the CSG industry.

‘The Newman government slashed oversight of the controversial coal seam gas (CSG) industry in Queensland despite warnings it would lead to serious non-compliance and to CSG companies “gambling” with safety.

‘Cabinet documents, obtained by the ABC, reveal the government was told in 2012 that slashing jobs and funding from CSG compliance would increase “the risk of a significant incident occurring”.

‘One submission to cabinet, marked “urgent and unavoidable”, actually argued for an increase in compliance funding. It said funding cuts would be “poorly received by the community”.

‘Despite the warnings, the budget for overseeing the CSG industry was repeatedly cut from $1.9 million in 2011-12, to just over $1 million three years later. The number of fulltime staff involved in compliance was cut by half.’

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