Oct 17, 2018At Home

Does the Natural Gas Industry Improve Community Capability?

Research conducted by the University of Queensland, compiled in the Boomtown Indicators reports, has tracked the natural gas industry in towns in Queensland for the last several years. They’ve focused on indicators in areas like jobs, local business growth, unemployment and housing to measure successes and lessons learned. The recently released 2017 report focuses on community capabilities and gleaned some interesting insights.

Most towns that experienced the gas industry first-hand found that unemployment dropped steadily during the construction phase of operations a few years ago. This meant that – as one resident in Wandoan put it – “Just about anyone who wanted a job could get one”. While employment trend lines have unfortunately showed a slight increase in unemployment recently, due to increased population and the general downturn in Queensland, the towns do seem more stable and even better off from the investments made by the natural gas industry.

Residents in the Toowoomba region, Roma and Chinchilla have all noticed an improved capability in their towns following the inflow of funding and resources to their towns. One Chinchilla resident noted that the town had “raised to the next level” in terms of consumer choices offered locally.

There is also strong community belief that the natural gas industry has made future developments possible. Toowoomba residents say that the $70 billion invested in the region by the natural gas industry has “set the tone” for a new wave of developments, while Chinchilla locals have said that the industry had paved the way for community development initiatives like the solar projects at Bli Bli and the Darling Downs.

For more information on improved regional and rural town capabilities from natural gas, see the University of Queensland’s Boomtown Indicators 2017 Annual Report.