Here’s a statement to the region from Mr Cotter.
Today, as my tenure as Chairman of the GasFields Commission Queensland concludes, I am writing to thank you for supporting the Commission, its Board of Commissioners and our dedicated staff.
An enormous amount has been achieved since 2010, when the Queensland Government asked me for help to improve the relationship between the rural and gas sectors, as tensions across the Surat Basin were reaching breaking point.
The way forward was to bring all the parties together around one table, to better understand each other and look for mutually beneficial solutions to the challenges everyone faced. This is how the Surat Basin CSG Engagement Group began and we found that by investing time and effort into our relationships, we started to make progress, building trust and respect.
This group was formalised in 2012 and became the GasFields Commission Queensland, and I am proud of the work we have done to help Queensland develop its significant reserves of CSG, something no other state or territory has been able to achieve.
For the thousands of landholders and numerous rural communities impacted by CSG, it’s been a long, hard road to get to where we are now, and the journey is not over yet.
For the economy of Toowoomba, the Darling Downs and Queensland more generally, it’s been a once-in-a-generation, much needed, shot in the arm.
Only this week, John Wagner, the Chairman of Wagners, one of Queensland’s largest privately-owned construction materials and mining services companies, described the major positive benefits of CSG for business and jobs.
John says Toowoomba’s unemployment rate is one of Australia’s lowest, thanks to successful co-existence between agriculture and CSG. It has even given his family the confidence to build an international airport, providing an economic driver for the region, creating jobs and opportunity now and in the decades ahead.
I wish to pay tribute to the six GasFields Commissioners, Shane Charles, Steven Raine, Ray Brown, Ian Hayllor, Don Stiller and Rick Wilkinson. Each has focused on a portfolio of work where they have been able to do a great deal to help build sustainable co-existence, providing a strong foundation for future work by the Commission as the CSG industry moves into an operational phase.
My term as Chair was scheduled to conclude 30 June this year. However, I agreed to continue serving until the State Government considered the recommendations of its independent review of the Commission.
I have spent a large part of my life advocating for regional Queensland, in particular its agricultural industries, and more recently the resources sector. I will continue to be a great advocate for these industries, and a passionate promoter of policies that will create prosperity for rural and regional Queenslanders.
GasFields Commission Queensland