Nearly 7,000 square kilometres of land is set to be released for gas and coal exploration as part of a number of measures to ensure the survival of the resources sector during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Queensland Government has announced.
Two new areas will be available for exploration, with companies able to bid for tenders to research the land near Moranbah in north Queensland as of today.
Another 6,700 square kilometres, made up of parcels of land near Blackwater, Rolleston, Banana, Moonie, Injune and Surat, would open for tender later this month.
Queensland Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said he was confident there would be a long-term market for the gas, which had experienced market challenges during the pandemic.
"A strong exploration pipeline is critical because we need those jobs to stay out in regional Queensland," he said.
"When coronavirus eventually leaves us we need the exploration sector to lead the economy out of the mire — a third of those tenders are for domestic gas only."
Dr Lynham said investors in the resource industry would look beyond current market challenges for the product.
"Gas prices will go up and down, but the trajectory for the future is that Queensland is a great place to invest," he said.
Dr Lynham indicated that the Government had worked hard, with the help of independent bodies like the Gasfields Commission, to build a co-existence model between the two industries.
"We've proven that, we've developed it over some time," he said.
"People can look in the Country Life [publication] and you can go online and you can see that farms are being sold with the attractive addition of an income from resources.
"Also with water extraction, some farmers have the additional benefit of having that water available for agriculture."
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