The LNP's spokesperson for resources and northern Australia, Senator Susan McDonald says she is comfortable with the gas development taking place on the Cooper floodplain, saying the industry has operated in the Lake Eyre Basin for more than 50 years under a strong management regime.
Ms McDonald's comments come in the wake of a report published this week in the international journal Marine and Freshwater Research, which identified 831 existing oil and gas production and exploration wells, mostly on the floodplains of Cooper Creek.
Lead author Professor Richard Kingsford said wells were being developed at the rate of 8 and 11 per year in South Australia and Queensland.
He said he was astounded at the scale of the development, reiterating concerns that roads were interrupting natural flooding regimes and co-produced water in storages on the floodplains were intermingling with natural flood waters.
Ms McDonald said she'd observed from her interactions that the gas industry was extremely well managed and took its legislated environmental obligations and responsibilities very seriously.
"All the talk about borrow pits, about roads - we're well familiar with these issues," she said.
"I'm very concerned that people are talking about gas in the Lake Eyre Basin as a new industry, as having a big footprint, but it isn't.
"It bothers me when people with vested interests run scare campaigns - I think they're not well-founded."
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Ms McDonald pointed to the high-paying jobs the gas industry provided regionally, the boon to small businesses in remote areas, and the billions of dollars the industry paid in royalties and taxes that the nation benefited from.
"Unfortunately we have out-of-touch activists using alarmist narratives to dictate that regional communities can't have access to these jobs and projects," she said.
"But not all Aboriginal people want to be rangers, and regional areas should be allowed to benefit from a mature, conscientious and high-paying industry.
"The resources industry is one of the biggest private sector employers of environmental scientists and it operates under some of the world's strictest regulations.
"Additionally, government agencies, including CSIRO, are continually monitoring gas operations and their potential impacts on local environments, resulting in some of the highest standards in the world."
The Western Rivers Alliance has called on the Palaszczuk government to ban all oil and gas mining in the region after the publication of the study.
The research is the first time the distribution and impact of oil and gas production across the floodplains of the Lake Eyre Basin has been studied
Alliance coordinator Riley Rocco said that clear prohibitions were needed.
"The evidence is clear - it's not only future unconventional gas fracking which is threatening the Lake Eyre Basin river system - existing oil and gas is already having an impact and it's getting worse," she said.
"We need the Queensland government to act now to protect this national and global icon by banning all oil and gas mining in rivers and floodplains."
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Senator McDonald said scare campaigns around gas extraction - both conventional and otherwise - were not supported by science.
"Time and again, anti-development activists make claims that, on testing, don't stack up," she said.
"People talk about fracking as if it was very dangerous, but in the US they are drilling with pinpoint accuracy.
"People imply dangerous chemicals are being used and earthquakes are resulting.
"The industry needs to continue to provide more education, rather than allow people to come in and run scare campaigns that if successful would disadvantage the regions and the people who live there."
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