Unconventional gas mining
The Australian dairy industry must continue to operate and prosper without unconventional gas mining activity compromising the natural resources upon which the industry relies, and without loss to industry reputation or market access. All risks of unconventional gas mining impacting natural resources or dairy industry reputation must be addressed.
To realise the dairy industry's strong potential to grow and remain competitive in the international dairy market, it will be critical to address any risks of unconventional gas mining activity, ensure there is no compromise to the natural resources upon which the industry relies, and ensure there is no loss to market access or industry reputation as a producer of high quality, safe dairy products. There are a number of potential issues with coexistence of dairy farming and the unconventional gas industry. These include but are not limited to:
- Water availability and quality
- Food safety
- Industry reputation and market access
- Farm access, operation and landholder rights.
In 2015, the Australian dairy industry developed a position statement on unconventional gas mining activity. It is our position that the Australian dairy industry must be able to continue to operate and prosper without unconventional gas mining activity compromising the natural resources upon which the industry relies, and without loss to industry reputation or market access. The full policy position on unconventional gas mining and coexistence with dairy farming can be downloaded below. The position is underpinned by six principles:
- Productive agriculture must be protected through strategic planning
- Water quality and quantity must be protected for dairy production to be viable
- Food, animal and people safety must be protected for the reputation of the dairy industry
- Farmers must be able to continue their farm operations
- Robust environmental management must include best practice of today and the future
- All projects must have reliable monitoring, reporting and compliance
In 2014, Dairy Australia commissioned a report on the key considerations for current and potential interactions between dairy and unconventional gas mining activities. The report is the result of a desktop review to inform the dairy industry on likely activities of unconventional gas exploration, extraction and production which may currently, or in the future, have the potential to interact with dairy businesses of eastern Australia. Six fact sheets provide a summary of the key findings of the report. The full report and summary fact sheets are available on the Dairy Australia website.