MEDIA RELEASE – Thursday 17th March
Government report denies farmers rights and information on fracking
Conservation groups have renewed the call for gas fracking to be banned in WA following the release of a government report confirming that farmers would be denied veto rights; and critical information such as groundwater monitoring data would continue to be withheld from the community and landholders.
The government has released its response to the recommendations made by the Legislative Standing Committee on Environment report Implications for Western Australia of hydraulic fracturing for unconventional gas.
CCWA Director Piers Verstegen said: “The Standing Committee avoided examining many serious issues with fracking; however the lack of rights for landholders and the withholding of information - including groundwater monitoring data - were two areas where the Committee did raise concerns.
“Rather than addressing these critical issues the government response confirms that farmers will continue to be denied veto rights over fracking on their land, and critical information will continue to be kept secret while a ‘review’ is carried out.
“This is not good enough. The State Government has been promising transparency for years but the secrecy continues.
“While anti-protest laws that would prevent farmers locking their gates against gas fracking are pushed through the Parliament, simple changes required to release information continue to be put off.
“Thousands of farms across the Midwest and Southwest now have fracking exploration leases over them. With no veto rights, these farmers are put at the mercy of the mining companies
Those landholders are understandably concerned about the impact that fracking could have on their health, groundwater, communities and property values.”
“Many other countries have banned gas fracking in order to protect groundwater, farming and food industries.
“If the fracking industry were allowed to proceed in WA at the scale proposed, it would mean drilling and fracking thousands of gas wells through our groundwater aquifers and turning our farms and tourist areas into industrial gasfields.
“These are not things that should ever be contemplated here in WA, and are not something the public supports.
“Despite overwhelming evidence, the Parliamentary Report and government response perpetuates the myth that shale gas fracking can be done safely, when in fact it poses a serious threat to our environment, groundwater and tourism and farming industries.
Comment: Piers Verstegen Director CCWA – 0411 557 892