QGC MD: Industry Must Change Approach to Dealing with Misinformation (Australia)
The resources sector must modernise its approach to dealing with misinformation by activists, QGC Managing Director Derek Fisher told the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association conference today.
Mr Fisher said that the experiences of developing the gas industry in eastern Australia should cause industry to modernise its approach to public and policy advocacy.
“This is probably the most regulated industry in Australia and has had so much light shone on it that it’s sunburnt,” Mr Fisher said.
“But this has not been enough for our critics.
“We underestimated the power of misinformation from such people, including the exaggerated claims that we will poison aquifers, drain the Great Artesian Basin and alienate farm land.
“We underestimated the potential for this misinformation to be reflected in costly legislation and regulation designed not to address environmental issues, but to appease a vocal minority.”
Addressing the lessons and legacy of developing the Queensland Curtis LNG Project, Mr Fisher said the speed with which the anti-gas lobby could act – unconstrained by scrutiny – was presently beyond the capacity of corporations and industry associations to react.
The industry had underestimated the unwillingness of people who hold extreme, anti-development views to conduct a fact-based debate.
“These past few years should cause the resource sector to seriously think about how it modernises its approach to public and policy advocacy,” he said.
“And, to be blunt, the willingness to take on our critics directly with the facts and to expose their agenda for what it is – to stop all fossil fuels.”
Mr Fisher noted that renewable energy options did not yet have the characteristics or scale to meet rising energy demand, and natural gas, with its relatively low emissions, was an important part of the world’s energy mix.
More than 11,600 jobs, or 15 a day in the past six months, had been created by the Queensland Curtis LNG Project alone.
When fully operational, QCLNG would contribute more than A$1 billion a year to state and federal government revenues – equivalent yearly funding for 20 primary schools or about 1000 hospital beds.
LNG World News Staff, May 29, 2013; Image: QGC