Under the banner of the Lock the Gate Alliance, about 100 demonstrators assembled outside Brisbane’s Convention Centre for the Queensland Gas Conference and exhibition on October 9 to protest their exclusion from the Australian Petroleum and Production Association’s (APPEA) inaugural Coal Seam Gas (CSG) Conference and Exhibition.
Lock the Gate formally requested that its observers be permitted entry to the conference seminars concerning “social licence to operate”.
The seminars — part of the conference’s “science and social trust stream” — were to “delve into the delicate balance of environmental responsibility, community need and commercial realities, with a focus on the all-important ‘social licence to operate’ issue in the context of true sustainability”, said the Conference brochure.
Conference organisers APPEA rejected the written request, leading Lock the Gate and affiliated community groups to organise a “People’s Social Licence Conference”.
LTGA President Drew Hutton said in an October 6 statement: “Present at these discussions we see major corporate consultancies, marketing agencies and of course CSG mining companies — but not one genuine representative from any of the Australian communities currently faced with intensive CSG operations in their area.
“This approach is typical of the manner in which CSG mining, as promoted by APPEA, has been rolled out across large areas of Queensland — with little to no genuine regard for the concerns of landholders and regional communities.”