And if you wait too long to survey a community, it can end up being too be too late to turn the tide of opinion.
'Social licence to operate' is a term describing how much community support a project or company has. As the Northern Rivers CSG experience shows, failing to get it can have costly impacts for firms.
The controversial Narrabri coal seam gas project. Australia has plenty of gas reserves that are cheaper to develop and a safer bet.
AAP Image/Dean Lewins
Australia has enough gas reserves to supply the next 25 years' demand. Federal pressure to lift state bans on onshore gas development is pointless, risky – and won't bring prices down.
Protesters rally against coal seam gas in Melbourne, February 2016.
AAP Image/Caroline Zielinski
The federal government seems keen to usher in a new boom in onshore gas production. But gas firms will need to tread carefully, as past experience in Queensland's fracking heartland shows.
Coal seam gas developments in Queensland near Chinchilla in 2013.
AAP Image/Dave Hunt
The latest survey of residents in coal seam gas regions reveals continuing lukewarm attitudes towards the industry.
A coal seam gas wellhead in Queensland.
AAP Image/QGC Australia, Simon Townsley
Extracting coal seam gas produces billions of litres of water. A new CSIRO report suggests that, when treated, this water can be pumped back underground.
Protesters march against fracking in Melbourne.
AAP Image/NEWZULU/DAVID HEWISON
Victoria will permanently ban unconventional gas, and extend a moratorium on onshore gas until 2020.
Ignited methane gas from the seep on the Condamine River.
Screenshot from Jeremy Buckingham/YouTube
Coal seam gas may not be responsible for a flaming river in Queensland, but it still raises uncomfortable questions.
Is the sun setting on coal investments?
Energy companies are realising that, in light of the Paris climate deal, the economics are starting to line up in favour of climate action, not against it.
An LNG carrier leaves Darwin.
Coal seam gas companies have invested billions of dollars to export their products overseas. But is their investment paying off?
A golden-tailed gecko – one of the inhabitants of the Brigalow Belt.
How do you balance coal and conservation? New research from Queensland hints at an answer.
It has been argued that connecting the pipeline to the Moomba gas hub (pictured) would have been more beneficial for the sector.
The Northern Territory is joining eastern Australia's gas market - good news for gas customers.
Protesters in Brisbane campaigning for more rights for landowners against coal seam gas.
AAP Image/Cleo Fraser
As a landowner, can you veto a coal seam gas development? And does the environment minister have the power to say no to coal mines?
Tom Switzer and Naomi Klein, speaking on Q&A.
US Studies Centre research associate Tom Switzer said on Q&A that US carbon emissions had levelled off because of coal seam gas, but activist Naomi Klein said it was due to the economic downturn. What does the research say?
The Great Artesian Basin is a source of water in many areas of inland Australia.
Recent water leaks related to coal seam gas development in New South Wales raise more concerns about the industry's impact on groundwater.
Australia’s gas market is entering a time of change: increasing supply, such as coal seam gas, can provide certainty.
Australia's "looming gas shortage" - the basis for calls to deregulate coal seam gas - may not be real after all. But gas prices are still set to rise, and that's an area where coal seam gas could help.
Water from coal seam gas mining would be treated at a reverse osmosis plant before being re-injected into the ground.
The Queensland government wants companies to use waste water from coal seam gas extraction for useful purposes such as recharging aquifers. New CSIRO research shows that, with careful monitoring, it can be done.
‘Four more years’ for NSW Premier Mike Baird, which the crowd chanted as he arrived at the Liberals’ election night party.
Mike Baird's Liberal National coalition has been comfortably returned to government in New South Wales, despite a 9% statewide swing against it on the two-party preferred vote.
Unless community concerns are heard and responded to, the NSW coal seam gas industry will keep running into road blocks.
Stop CSG Illawarra/AAP
Whether you're a supporter or opponent of coal seam gas, the looming New South Wales election will decide the industry's future in the state. So what are the three key issues to watch?
One Nation’s Pauline Hanson says landholders’ constitutional water rights have been undermined by government changes – but is that true?
AAP Image/Tertius Pickard
The Australian Constitution says residents have the right to water from the rivers for irrigation and conservation purposes but governments have brought in laws that are restricting this – One Nation’s…
Coal seam gas is only one issue for managing one of Australia’s most important geological resources.
AAP Image/Dean Lewins
In a recent article on The Conversation, Queensland coal seam gas (CSG) researchers argued that the industry is progressing faster than the science, leading to concerns over fugitive emissions and impacts…