Project summary: 

The CCSG Socio-Economic Indicators project employs a suite of metrics developed to measure change in communities undergoing relatively rapid change, specifically - population, unemployment, income, housing costs, and crime rates.  These metrics were originally selected to assess cumulative social and economic impacts of CSG development in towns in the Western Downs regional council area, the heart of Queensland’s CSG development.  The project found significant dynamics accompanying CSG development – such as increased migration to, from, and within the Western Downs with effects on each town’s “social capital”.  

The method of analysis resulted in an online toolkit. The UQ Boomtown Toolkit enables defining, collecting and analysing town-level indicators to inform strategic planning and decision-making. This Toolkit approach is now being employed to characterise changes in a total nine towns across four local government areas where CSG development is occurring in Queensland.  Elements have also been adopted by the Queensland government.  

These indicator metrics were developed – and employed - through extensive engagement with regional communities and other stakeholders. As such, they are ‘agreed indicators’ rather than merely abstract, desk-top indicators selected by experts.  They feature town-level measurement, a level of granularity needed for practical and political reasons.  That has enabled identifying migration of low-income families from towns where rents were rising to areas with lower rents.  Then, when rents fell below their historical trend lines in the ‘boom towns’ when CSG construction ended, due to ‘too many’ houses being built, low income families migrated to these towns to take advantage of the lower rents. That has had spill on effects for local schools.   

This annual reporting project has made trends in these indicators visible for the period of 2001 to the present through online plotting software.  Analysis of these trends, and comparison of changes in different towns, is contributing to an annual update for the regions covered.  The update has feature articles on key issue areas, such as housing and small business.  Additionally, the project team are pursuing widespread uptake of the online information to support decision-making by local businesses, community organisations, various levels and departments of government, and the CSG industry. 

This project aims to improve the capacity to monitor, assess and predict cumulative socio-economic impacts of rapid changes in regional communities, CSG development included.  It helps to distinguish between short-term impacts and long-term trends. More importantly, it is meant to put industry, community, and government ‘on the same page’ about actual effects being seen in towns. 

This project will:

a) To track impact over time at town and regional scale.

b) Build capacity via the information provided in an annual reference report to be used across sectors in the Queensland CSG footprint.

c) Build capacity in "systems thinking" and support more effective planning.

Project status: 
Project leader or contact: 
Start date: 
August 2015
Completion date: 
April 2020
Output availability: 


  1. Annual Report on Queensland’s Gasfields Regions with indicator data for the region to be updated annually covering 2015, 2016 and 2017.
  2. Town data booklets produced for the Western Downs, Maranoa, Isaac, and Toowoomba local government areas. 
  3. website containing the Annual Report and updated data on Queensland's gasfield regions.


The town data booklets for nine towns have been completed.  The website containing the Annual Report and updated data on Queensland’s gasfield regions has been publicly released, with updates continuing.


Project output: 
Record number: 
This information has been collated by the Centre for Coal Seam Gas. The project summary on this page may be a reproduction or adaptation of the researcher’s own published description of the project, which is generally available via the link to online information located beneath the summary. In other cases, the summary has been provided directly by the researcher or their organisation.