Western Australia’s peak environment body the Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) and the Frack Free Future alliance have welcomed the McGowan Government’s Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources (Hydraulic Fracturing) Regulations 2017, which were gazetted today and will provide a permanent ban on fracking in the South West, Perth, and Peel regions, and a statewide moratorium until 2020.
CCWA Director Piers Verstegen said environment groups and landholders would welcome these regulations which form part of an important election promise by the McGowan Government.
“Communities and landholders will be relieved to hear this news, and to know that the quality of their water, health, and environment will not be threatened by toxic and unwanted fracking operations.
“While this regulation applies to fracking only, it is a step towards protecting parts of our state from all unwanted and polluting forms of petroleum development.
“We especially welcome Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston’s comments today, ‘The McGowan Government recognises the need to protect the State's environment from risks associated with fracking’.
“A Background Paper released by the Independent Fracking Inquiry has already acknowledged that fracking has serious and significant risks, including groundwater contamination, air pollution, damage to wildlife and biodiversity, and impacts on farming and other industries.
“It is already clear that fracking any part of the state would threaten our water, wildlife, and environment, which is why the industry has no social license to operate in WA.
“A temporary ban (moratorium) until June 2020 will apply in parts of the state not covered by the permanent fracking ban. This buys time for our environment and communities who will continue to to advocate for a permanent statewide ban on fracking.
“Last week, a State Agreement Act passed by the Barnett Government to support fracking in the Kimberley was repealed, however the Premier’s speech to Parliament contained a concerning suggestion that fracking could be supported by the McGowan Government in the Kimberley following the independent inquiry.
“Rather than raising concerns with mixed messages on fracking, we urge the McGowan Government and its Independent Scientific Panel Inquiry to support a permanent, legislated statewide ban on all unconventional gas activities, and to develop renewable energy resources to meet the state’s energy needs.
“The WA Fracking Inquiry is now calling for public submissions and we encourage as many people as possible to voice their concerns, and describe the values they want to see protected.”