On Tuesday 40,000 people stood up for WA’s environment – even Colin couldn’t stay away!
On Tuesday 13 October, a coalition of environment, community groups and regular WA folk came from the city, the southwest and the northwest to Parliament, to ask the WA Government to protect the state from fracking.
Wearing red and clutching a huge stack of petition signatures and signs, a crowd gathered to listen to Uncle Ben Taylor, Martin Pritchard from Environs Kimberley and Jenita Enevoldsen from the Wilderness Society talk about the threat that fracking poses to the land, air and water. We also heard from Chris Tallentire, Shadow Spokesperson for the Environment - who accepted the petition - about Labor’s new strong policy position on fracking. Chris said that a Labor Government would implement a moratorium on fracking “until all the concerns – for the environment, communities, health, water and land - were addressed”.
Over 40,000 people have signed an online petition calling for a moratorium in WA, supplemented by a further 4000 handwritten signatures collected by members of the WA group No Fracking WAy. These people are like you and me – young and old, regional and city people, who have realized that WA’s future relies on clean water, secure food supply, a strong diversified economy, strong regional communities and a safe climate. All of this is at risk if we allow an onshore gas fracking industry to gain control over large areas of coastal WA and the Kimberley.
The whole process of fracking for the shale and tight gas has caused industrialization of landscapes and contamination of water in the USA. Similar processes used to extract coal seam gas on a large scale have caused significant problems in eastern states of Australia, leading to Governments in Victoria and Tasmania to enact moratoriums on fracking to protect their communities. We want the same thing here.
Following strong policy statements from the Greens and Labor, we now await the responses of the National party (many of whom have regional electorates who are affected) and the Liberals. We want a different future for WA, a sustainable future for people in regional and metro areas. The fracking campaign is positive, powerful and community-led and it is attracting huge numbers of supporters; even Colin couldn’t stay away. When stepping out of his car to come back into Parliament, the Premier Colin Barnett stopped for a moment to listen to the speeches, but declined to address the crowd. As a cheerleader for the fracking industry, we hope that Colin will start to listen to people in WA and realise that the future is not fracked - WA can do better than that.
If you want to get involved in the campaign against fracking in WA, there are lots of ways to help:
Take action to protect the right to peaceful protest about issues like fracking: http://ccwa.org.au/protectpeacefulprotest
Come to get involved in the campaign, find out more on http://frackfreefuture.org.au