Farmers are calling for greater transparency from the coal seam gas industry after an Arrow Energy owned pipeline exploded near Lake Broadwater on the Western Downs, setting fire to a donga earlier this week.
However, neither the gas company nor the government immediately released information publicly about the incident, with locals relying on the media for scant details from the company.
Bev Newton, whose property lies within Arrow Energy’s Surat Gas Project and has pipelines and wells immediately adjacent to her boundaries, said farmers were often the last to know about gas company activities.
“This most recent incident proves that these activities pose a risk to us and our employees,” she said.
“Arrow Energy is hesitant to advise of exclusion zones around any of this infrastructure and keep assuring us as to the safety of its activities.
“We are harvesting and planting not far from where these gas pipelines run.
“We need to work on the boundaries of our properties but there is a huge gap in safety associated with us being kept informed about what has gone on and when it happened.
“We’re kept in the dark about these issues. The companies never made us aware of how dangerous its activities could be.
“If there’s been a fire and a donga has burnt down, that's the kind of event that poses a risk to life and property, yet we hear nothing from the gas companies.”
Dalby farmer Zena Ronnfeldt neighbours a property where a similar gas blowout sent methane and salty water 90m into the air in 2011. Just days following the blowout, Arrow was in the news again after it caused a “significant” diesel spill.
Earlier this year, Arrow Energy was fined $1 million for drilling deviated gas wells beneath farmers’ properties without permission.
“The fact is Arrow has a poor safety and compliance record,” Mrs Ronnfelt said.
“It doesn’t make you feel very comfortable working so close to their gas infrastructure because there is a very clear risk of equipment failure. It makes you concerned as a resident and landowner because there is no guarantee an incident like this won’t happen again, possibly causing injury or death.”
“It makes you concerned as a resident and a landholder because there is no guarantee an incident like this won’t happen again closer to home.”