The potential environmental impacts and hazards of coal seam gas mining in Australia are highly contentious and poorly understood. Concerns have been raised by communities, and the Australian government has incorporated management tools and strategies to address these concerns. The primary environmental issue associated with coal seam gas mining would be on the aquifers above the target coal seam. If the upper aquifers are affected in terms of quantity and quality, then there are cumulative impacts to the surface environment such as groundwater dependent ecosystems and surface waters. This paper will examine the Australian situation with regard to coal seam gas mining and present a methodology for rapid assessment of the potential impacts and hazards of coal seam gas extraction on aquifers and surface environments. A GIS analysis method for developing broad scale potential impact and hazard criterion for aquifers above the target coal zone are discussed. Current investigations and future research and development opportunities are explored.