About the project

About the project

Development of coal seam gas (CSG) in Queensland has offered opportunities and challenges.  The information on this website tells the story of that development based on historical and recent trends in key indicators.  It is intended to aid decision-making in local and state government, the resource industry, small business, landholders, community organisations, and individual households.  Input from these various sectors was used to prioritise the indicators to track.  Population, income, employment, housing costs, and crime rates.  Seasonal rainfall was also monitored as agricultural seasons can influence social and economic indicators in towns. Petrol prices are included as a broad indicator of cost of living. 

The story of the 'gasfield' region is told through statistics, insights from key stakeholders in each town, and analysis of ‘system dynamics’ during periods of change in towns and regions.  The social and economic outcomes are tracked at the town level.  That is a level of granularity often missing in assessments of long-term outcomes from resource development. 

To get started using this resource:

  • The UQ Boomtown Toolkit provides access to search and view data charts for communities. To complete your own search view the online charting tool: Compare Towns.
  • We also provide individual data and perception town booklets for town communities. Each booklet provides explanations of the interplay of an array of factors in the town: Town Booklets.  
  • Secondary indicators are used to delve further into issues as they emerge. Insights are drawn together with a specific focus in: Special Reports.  

Multi-year research

We have employed internationally recognised leading practices to monitor changes in the Queensland gasfield regions.  We have assessed trends from 2001 to 2018 using interviews and statistical data on key indicators.  These indicators include population, housing costs, incomes, unemployment, and crime rates.  This information has helped to identify cause and effect, providing an understanding of each town that we studied and an understanding of the region as a system.  These understandings are essential to making decisions aimed at improving each community's and the region's future.  
Each year the project adds additional data and analysis.  The site covers trends in key indicators to the end of 2018 which are analysed and reported on in early 2019 and the final report published in June 2019.  There is capacity for more annual updates into the future.  Each year's 'Annual Report' contains an overview of the status of towns and regions studied (Executive summary) that is, which way are trends in population, income, housing costs, etc., currently heading.  There is also a focus article (Opportunities and challenges). 

For communities facing change

This Annual Report, the Cumulative Socioeconomic Impacts study, the town data booklets, and the UQ Toolkit are meant to aid the Queensland gasfield regions.  They can also provide insight for any community or region in the middle of a resource boom, at the end of a boom, or expecting big changes, such as in water availability or infrastructure.  

The data and insights provided on this website and via the UQ Toolkit should be used to gain an understanding of what changes have occurred in communities previously.  Research does not include future predictions, outlook or forecasts on how indicators may change in the future.  However research information may provide professional advisors with a guide to support future decisions and support regional long-term planning.

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. These indicator metrics were developed - and employed - through extensive engagement with regional communities and other stakeholders.

While initially developed for the CSG industry, the metrics and system can be used across any regional development activity.


A comprehensive methodology and set of resources has been developed as part of this research.

A quick overview of the principles can be accessed via this link: Methods.

The full methodology and set of resources has been flagged for commercialisation. To discuss commercialisation opportunities and gain an overview of the full set of resources available as part of this package, please contact the project leader, Kathy Witt.  

“Having a tool to source and analyse this information helps to provide an understanding of each town studied and an understanding of the region as a system. These understandings are being fed into decision making aimed at improving outcomes for each community and the region’s future.”

- Dr Kathy Witt