As in other countries, the development and exploration of unconventional gas within Australia has raised significant environmental concerns and public opposition.
Rural communities and landholders in areas of operations are particularly concerned about potential impacts on agricultural business. Ordinary locals, including farmers, have been forced to rally together to protect their communities, and major community protests have occurred in places of unconventional gas developments.
In 2010 the Lock the Gate Alliance was created as a national alliance made up of over 160 local groups opposed to CSG development. Numerous grass roots groups have staged long-term campaigns against coal seam gas, involving local landholders, farmers and environmentalists. For instance, in the Northern Rivers area of NSW, continued community action against developments contributed to the suspension of CSG development in that area. In Fullerton Cove, near Newcastle, residents went to court to appeal for more a rigorous environmental assessment process.
Many larger environmental groups also publicly campaign against coal seam gas operations and the use of hydraulic fracturing.
Many communities have undertaken surveys to find almost unanimous opposition to unconventional gas, and have declared themselves Gasfield free. In Victoria, many communities across Gippsland which are under threat from gas mining have either declared themselves Gasfield free, or are in the process of surveying to make that declaration. Communities groups are on alert and are prepared to have to employ direct action if the moratorium is lifted and companies begin fracking.
Inspiring resistance: communities unite against fracking.