Geological and Bioregional Assessment Program
In 2017, the Australian Government announced a new program of bioregional assessments to be conducted in three onshore areas that were underexplored but prospective for shale and tight gas. These assessments are the Geological and Bioregional Assessment Program.
The Geological and Bioregional Assessment Program assesses the potential impacts of shale and tight gas development on water and the environment. This work provides independent scientific data, advice and information to governments, industry, land users and the community.
See the video for a brief introduction to the GBA Program.
The Australian Government selected the following regions for assessment:
- The Cooper GBA region , which spans south-west Queensland and north-east South Australia.
- The Isa GBA region , which covers parts of north-west Queensland, extending east from the Northern Territory border.
- The Beetaloo GBA region , which lies south-east of Katherine in the Northern Territory.
These assessments examined the potential impacts on water, the environment, protected areas and threatened species from shale and tight gas resource development and considered appropriate mitigation and management approaches. The approach taken for this assessment was the development of a causal network. This approach allows for a transparent, consistent, and systematic evaluation of the relationship between development activities and the environmental values in each of the GBA regions.
The program outputs include geological and environmental data, tools and knowledge to assist regulators and industry with planning, assessment and reporting. It also provides regulators and industry with a common information base to help inform decision-making and enable the coordinated management of cumulative impacts.
Use the map below to find your GBA region.
The program comprised of three stages:
Stage 1: Rapid Regional Prioritisation - narrowed the focus of the assessments to select three regions for detailed study. This step was completed in 2018.
Visit the Rapid Regional Prioritisation report page to download the report.
Stage 2: Baseline analysis - analyses available data for the three regions and identifies gaps to guide collection of additional baseline data where needed. This step was completed in 2020.
- Visit the Beetaloo GBA region geological and environmental baseline assessment page to download the reports and see the results of stage 2 for the Beetaloo GBA region.
- Visit the Cooper GBA region geological and environmental baseline assessment page to download the reports and see the results of stage 2 for the Cooper GBA region
- Visit the Isa GBA region geological and environmental baseline assessment page to download the reports and see the results of stage 2 for the Isa GBA region.
Stage 3: Impact assessment - analyses the potential regional-scale impacts of unconventional gas resource development on water resources and Commonwealth and state or territory matters of environmental significance to enable effective monitoring, mitigation and management measures.
- Visit the Beetaloo GBA region impact assessment page to download the final stage 3 reports, supporting materials or access the GBA Explorer.
- Visit the Cooper GBA region impact assessment page to download the final stage 3 reports, supporting materials or access the GBA Explorer.
The Minister for the Environment concluded the assessment for the Isa GBA region on 15 May 2020. The decision not to carry out the Stage 3 assessment for the Isa GBA region was due to insufficient geoscience and environmental data and information available from the region to accurately conduct the assessment at that time.
- Bioregional Assessment Program
- Lake Eyre Basin bioregion
- Northern Inland Catchments bioregion
- Clarence-Moreton bioregion
- Northern Sydney Basin bioregion
- Sydney Basin bioregion
- Gippsland Basin bioregion
- Indigenous assets
- Bioregional assessment methodology
- Compiling water-dependent assets
- Assigning receptors to water-dependent assets
- Developing a coal resource development pathway
- Developing the conceptual model of causal pathways
- Surface water modelling
- Groundwater modelling
- Receptor impact modelling
- Propagating uncertainty through models
- Impacts and risks
- Systematic analysis of water-related hazards associated with coal resource development
- Assessment components
- Component 1: Contextual information
- Component 2: Model-data analysis
- Components 3 and 4: Impact and risk analysis
- Component 5: Outcome synthesis
- Metadata and datasets
- Geological and Bioregional Assessment Program