THE number of people working in Queensland's gas industry rose by a staggering 7000 positions in the first half of this year, figures released by the Australian Petroleum and Production Exploration Association show.
APPEA chief executive David Byers boasted the industry now employed more than 18,500 in the sunshine state, driven by a boom in the number of coal seam gas and liquefied natural gas projects underway.
"CSG to LNG projects worth almost $50 billion are progressing in Queensland, creating thousands of jobs and breathing new life into rural and regional communities," Mr Byers said in a statement.
"The Queensland industry signed 306 new landholder agreements in the second quarter of 2012 and 2898 such agreements are now in place in that state.
"There have been no formal disputes of access in either state; gas companies and landholders are working hard to ensure industry and farming can work side by side for mutual benefit."
While he was ebullient about the situation in Queensland, he took a big stick to the state's southern neighbours.
The figures showed the New South Wales CSG workforce grew by 39 positions in the first half of the year, to 332.
APPEA had hoped the NSW Government's Strategic Regional Land Use Plan would provide "certainty for all stakeholders".
But while Mestgasco hailed the policy as a "green light" for its operations in the state, APPEA was not impressed.
Mr Byers said the plan would delay approval processes for projects by up to three months.
"This package of new regulations contains 27 elements that will lead to drawn-out assessment processes with increased security deposits and fees," he said.
"While industry can now finally start investing in exploration, job creation and investment for NSW regional communities, we need to recognise that these regulations will force up costs and delay projects.
"Around 95% of gas used in NSW by households and businesses comes from interstate, yet the potential to develop local reserves will not only create thousands of jobs but also contribute millions of dollars annually through royalty streams."
Mr Byers claimed the Queensland gas industry contributed an additional $13.5 million to community projects in the last quarter, compared to $85,000 in the same period in NSW, bringing total contributions to $550,000.
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