The Sedimentary Basin Management Initiative team will compromise of university researchers, independent research organisations and government agencies and will engage with state and federal regulators and industry peak bodies, the agricultural sector, resource companies, relevant NGO’s and community groups.
Sedimentary basins underpin much of the Australian Economy from farming to subsurface oil and gas production as well as water and waste management including potential CO2 sequestration. Development of our sedimentary basin resources is currently mired by complex competing jurisdictions, inadequate knowledge bases and sub-optimal management protocols. We are short on trusted independent advice. The national interest demands that we do better. This Initiative will deliver to this challenge in providing much better understandings and solutions that currently prevail.The initiative fills the critical need for a more integrated approach to managing our sedimentary basin resources, their soils and their pore-space. It recognises the need for:
- More robust, independent assessment of the available and potential basin resources, and for the interdependencies between them
- More harmonised regulations and project approvals across political jurisdictions and usage regimes, trusted and verifiable information on the ongoing and potential impact of subsurface developments with open access for all relevant stakeholders.
The multi-institutional, collaborative program proposed under this initiative will build on existing national research infrastructure (such as the Earth Sciences research infrastructure supported by NCRIS - $42.8 million- and EIF $23 million as administered by AuScope). A technical program will focus on establishing baseline data and contextual information for model-data analysis, impact and risk assessment. A regulatory program will focus on harmonization across jurisdictional boundaries and interacting usage regimes. An engagement program will ensure appropriate open access to relevant data, planning and reporting protocols. Education outreach will be a key priority. As a core value, the team will adopt a policy-neutral approach to proposed basin usage regimes. The program will run over 7-10 years an annual budget of $25-35 million, coordinated by the University of Melbourne.