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Queensland government guts laws protecting water from coal seam gas operations

water-dropshighly-recommended      Australia: Wide-ranging changes to Queensland’s land and water legislation passed, Clayton UTZ 11 May 2013 A petroleum tenure holder in Queensland will now be able to use associated water “for any purpose”.

The Land, Water and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2013 (Qld) was passed by Parliament on 2 May 2013 and introduces a large number of legislative amendments across a wide range of Acts impacting, primarily, the land and water regulatory portfolios, but also making important amendments that impact upon the petroleum industry, particularly in relation to water bores and the use and transportation of CSG water.

Some of the key amendments in this Act for petroleum industry proponents are outlined below.

Removal of restriction on use of CSG water

Previously, under the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 (Qld) (P&G Act), a holder of a petroleum tenure could only use associated water (ie. underground water taken or interfered with from a petroleum well) for another “authorised activity” for that tenure – in other words, the tenure holder was restricted from using the water for any activity not authorised for that tenure, such as for activities under another petroleum tenure or beyond the tenure’s boundaries.

An exception existed for the supply of associated water to certain owners of land within or adjoining the petroleum tenure for domestic and stock purposes. A petroleum tenure holder wishing to use associated water for any activity not authorised under its tenure was required to seek authorisation under the Water Act 2000 (Qld) (eg. a water licence).

The Act removes this restriction under the P&G Act to allow a petroleum tenure holder to use associated water “for any purpose”. The Act’s explanatory notes identifies that the Water Act now provides a separate underground water management framework for petroleum industry proponents, which along with requirements under the Environmental Protection Act 1994, removes the need for proponents to also hold a water licence in such circumstances.

As a consequence, the Water Act has also been amended to remove the requirement for petroleum tenure holders to obtain a water licence for the supply of associated water to other users. This has been done for the same reason that restrictions on the use of associated water by petroleum tenure holders under the P&G Act have been removed, as discussed above…….

 Safety requirements pertaining to pipelines carrying CSG water

Recent amendments brought in by the Mines Legislation (Streamlining) Amendment Act 2012 (Qld) excluded pipelines carrying produced water from the definition of “operating plant” under the P&G Act, with the effect that these pipelines would not be subject to the safety regime under the P&G Act, but instead the safety regime under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld)……..

Other amendments

The Act amends a number of other Acts, including to:

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May 13, 2013 - Posted by | Queensland, water

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