Roadshow closing address

Closing address 

Click here to open transcript

Grant Nay:

This Geological and Bioregional Assessment Program has delivered the most comprehensive geological and bioregional studies on the Beetaloo and Cooper basins to date. This much needed work provides transparent scientific information and it contributes to informing baseline data at a regional scale for industry, regulators and local communities for generations to come. The datasets, reports, fact sheets, conceptual modelling and the interactive explorer tool will improve access to information, support decision making and provide a transparent common language that governments at all levels can use to clearly describe how decisions are made on unconventional gas resource developments.

The GBA Program is a fantastic example of how to deliver government policy and implement a large program. It has demonstrated good governance and good accountability. It has set clear goals, and then it has delivered on them. By working closely with independent scientific experts in the communities who live and work in each region, the GBA Program has demonstrated a user focused design method that ensured the greatest impacts. This isn't simply a program where bureaucrats and distant organisations have made decisions in isolation. Every result, datasets, reports, or tool produced by the program was targeted at a specific need identified by one of its stakeholders.

Robust decisions require good science and good data and these must be transparently available to justify them. And that is exactly what this program has done. We know that the GBA datasets are already being used across industry and governments. For example, today, we heard from Dr Matteo about the collection of LiDAR datasets from the Cooper Creek Floodplain, Thomson and Barcoo river systems. This data is of particular interest to farmers to local councils, to industry, to governments at all levels and to the scientific geomorphology community. We know from download statistics and there are certainly a lot of those downloads, just how important this information is to so many people. The program is also used to build an Australian first, a hydrodynamic flood inundation model of the Cooper Creek floodplain.

And this is available for free to anyone that wants to better understand how resource development could impact the floodplains and landscape of the Cooper GBA region. Landholders industry and all Australians will now be better informed when predicting floods into the future. There are other examples too. The field seismicity monitors installed in the Beetaloo sub basin, which were used to measure the recent earthquake in Victoria, for example. These monitoring stations are sensitive enough to detect and triangulate earthquakes right across Australia. The NT government have also begun to use GBA datasets to inform their ecological baseline requirements for the strategic regional environmental and baseline assessment. And they're working with the traditional custodians to collect critical groundwater chemistry at the Mataranka Springs to inform groundwater behaviour.

This information will be critical to support the Northern Territory government in air, ground, water, allocation planning. These are important legacies for the GBA Program and they provide a launchpad to build and strengthen partnerships. The Minister for the Environment and the Minister for Resources and Water publicly released the program on 22nd September. The joint release by two ministers highlights just how important this work is for protecting our water resources and the environment and this work provides clarity and guidance on how and where industry can operate responsibly. One of the key findings from this program is that where potential impacts from future unconventional gas resource developments could occur, all of these are able to be mitigated and managed through existing methods and compliance with regulations.

This highlights a couple of important things. Number one, that there has been and continues to be significant national efforts to ensure that these industries are regulated to the appropriate level. And two, that compliance with the regulations is critical to protecting our water resources and environments. There is always the possibility of misinterpretation of scientific results due to complexity or selection bias. However, this program can let the science do the talking because absolutely everything from the GBA Program is transparent and it is accessible. Everyone can see how robust the results are.

I would like to say that while these results are very important and leave a lasting program legacy, so too is the innovative causal network methodology, which has been developed. This approach is highly adaptable and it can easily be applied to different situations and to future projects. I encourage everyone to look at the communication products available on the program's website, read the social media and fact sheets and watch the videos to understand exactly what the program found and just why it is so important. Before I finish, can I just provide a massive thank you to the program staff, the scientists, the collaboration partner organisations, supporting personnel and all the people who provided their time, energy and personal inputs to our user panels and the engagement events. And thanks to all of you for joining us today at this webinar too, the Virtual Geological and Bioregional Assessments Program roadshow. We'll now transition into our last questions and answers session. Thank you.

About the presenter 

Grant Nay

Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment 

Grant is the Acting Assistant Secretary for the Geospatial and Information Analytics Branch. 

Grant is an evidence-based practitioner, synthesiser, and critical thinker with 25 years of experience within the Australian Public Service and the superannuation, telecommunications, banking and insurance industries. He has a proven track record of implementing complex technology and organisational change. His strengths of strategic leadership and project management are underpinned by broad, and deep technical expertise gained developing enterprise software solutions.

Last updated:
15 November 2021