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Marty Silk

Qld grants second Eyre Basin gas permit

Lock the Gate says the Queensland government must 'come clean' about its plans for the Eyre basin. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

The Queensland government has quietly approved more gas prospecting in the Lake Eyre Basin amid concerns it could dump promised environmental protections for the area.

The Palaszczuk government is probing the legal impacts of potential protections, but it hasn't set a deadline to release those findings.

In the meantime, it has quietly granted prospecting permits to at least two gas companies in the remote western riverine wilderness.

Pure Energy Corporation is the latest after it was given a permit on Sunday to search for gas over a 1000-square-kilometre area in Quilpie Shire.

Lock the Gate Alliance coordinator Ellie Smith said that approval comes after Origin was last year granted petroleum leases over an area the size of the ACT.

The group rallied outside state parliament on Tuesday, calling for the government to reveal its plans for the Lake Eyre Basin.

"The Palaszczuk Government is saying one thing publicly to Queenslanders, while behind closed doors it is waving oil and gas approvals through," Ms Smith said in statement.

"It is time for the government to come clean about its real plans.

"The granting of new exploration licences highlights why these protections are needed. They will give certainty to the community. Some places are just too precious to frack."

The resources department said Pure Energy had been given a prospecting permit following a tender process, which began under the previous government in 2014.

A spokesperson said the company would have to apply for approval under regional planning laws to produce gas.

"Any resources project must stack up environmentally, socially and financially and are assessed against strict criteria," the resources department said in a statement.

Labor originally pledged protections similar to the former Wild Rivers laws, which banned development near declared waterways, at the 2020 state election.

The government has been accused of delaying the release of a regulatory impact statement after consulting conservationists, traditional owners, farmers, councils and gas companies on proposals.

"This is an extensive body of work that needs to be done thoroughly and properly, and stakeholders will be advised when the consultation Regulatory Impact Statement is released," the environment department told AAP.

A scientific study in October flagged major concerns about the scale of oil and gas projects on the Lake Eyre Basin floodplains in Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

Researchers used satellite imagery to show that there were 831 existing projects, with roads interrupting natural flooding regimes and water in storage reservoirs potentially polluting waterways during floods.

Ms Smith said gas drilling was incompatible with environmental protections for the basin.

"Already hundreds of fracked gas wells pock-mark this landscape and hundreds of kilometres of roads and pipelines connect the wells while disrupting natural water flows," she added.

"We cannot risk allowing this industry to expand any further. Doing so would result in the death of a true natural and cultural wonder."

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