Apr 23, 2020In The Community

Regional Australia Thriving in Partnership with the Natural Gas Industry

Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise (TSBE), a Queensland-based economic development group, was formed in 2011 to help local businesses take advantage of the supply chain opportunities in the development of regional natural gas.

Small businesses and regional economies are central to the success and prosperity of Australia more broadly. For the people that live in regional communities where the natural gas industry has a presence opportunities for growth abound. In Queensland, TSBE is making sure that locals can take hold of these opportunities for growth and diversity.

In a recent presentation to another Brighter partner, the Petroleum Club of WA (PCWA), TSBE CEO, Ali Davenport, said the uptick in local positivity around the natural gas industry has been a successs.

Presenting CSIRO community wellbeing data, Ms Davenport highlighted that the majority (as high as 72% in Eastern Maranoa) of people in the Surat Basin now felt positive about the natural gas industry.

“The people in these areas care deeply about the community, deeply about the land, but most of them feel positively about the gas industry”, she said.

Ms Davenport said the reasons people supported the natural gas industry were due to the benefits they saw, including more available jobs, growth in the local economy, a fair go for farmers and social investment from the industry.

“Most people agree the community is now better off than before natural gas development”, said Ms Davenport.

The other reason people supported the industry was because of their connection to the industry.

“Many people work within or alongside the gas industry. They may supply products to the gas industry, or own a motel or a restaurant; they can see the benefit to the local economy”.

“Local hairdressers, car yards, restaurants, butchers, pretty much everyone in town has benefited in some way”.

Ms Davenport also highlighted UQ research which used ATO data for the areas of Dalby and Chinchilla indicates a 20% increase in the number of local businesses since the development of natural gas, and a growth in business income and notably a sizable increase in the number of businesses with $2M+ turnovers.