Drilling into community perceptions of coal seam gas in Roma, Australia

Alexandra Bec, Griffith University
Brent D. Moyle, Southern Cross University
Char-Lee J. McLennan, Griffith University

Abstract

Coal seam gas (CSG) extraction and its conversion into liquefied natural gas (LNG) for overseas export is a recent phenomenon in Australia. These activities have, not surprisingly, attracted significant attention because of their perceived impacts on the environment and communities. However, community and stakeholder perceptions of these impacts, particularly for local development, have gone virtually unexamined in the literature. This paper aims to bridge this gap by exploring local perceptions of CSG extraction in a rural Australian community. In doing so, the research determines the efficacy of using social representation theory (SRT) and social exchange theory (SET) to assess community perceptions of mining-induced change. Findings reveal that the community perceives CSG extraction to provide positive economic impacts but is concerned about its ability to facilitate long-term economic growth and development. Long-term residents considered regional development to be targeted towards satisfying the needs of mining companies and ‘new' migrants to the region. A lack of information about the impacts of CSG extraction has led to heightened apprehension among long-term residents.