The recent growth of the coal seam gas industry has increased pressure on regional communities. Debate surrounding the industry is intense and a social licence to operate has yet to be granted to the industry in its entirety. This article presents an analysis of social issues surrounding the coal seam gas industry, making comparisons between two case studies, the Ranger and Jabiluka mines and the Yandicoogina mine. It presents the results of a desktop study, focused on three topics: community identity, procedural justice and distributive justice, which provides a means for comparison and draws attention to central concerns. It is found power imbalances, changing community identities, potentially inequitable distributions of long term benefits and the process to distribute those benefits and negative perceptions of the industry, as a whole, serve to undermine the provision of a social licence to operate by communities and have the potential to impose significant negative impacts on companies within the industry.