Community groups and conservationists have responded to the WA Government’s shale and tight gas framework, which reveals the much larger scale and relentless progress of fracking – and still gives no say for communities.
CCWA campaigner Chantelle Roberts said “The report says that the Government ‘respects the right of all communities and individuals to form their own views about shale and tight gas projects’ - but does not give them the power to do so. It is fundamentally unfair that people don’t have the right to say no to gas mining on their land or in their area.”
“That’s why we are seeing communities across WA doing their own research, conducting community surveys, asking questions of gas companies and declaring that they don’t support this activity in their area.”
Ian Minty, a member of the Dandaragan Groundwater Protection Group said “The Government has to respect a landowner’s fundamental right to decide what happens on their land. My concern is not for me, but for all the years of work my family, and all the families in this community have put into their farms and businesses. All that hard work could be put at risk for some shareholder profit.”
Carly Stone, a member of the No Fracking in South West WA community said “We are working hard to see the same moratorium on fracking that Victoria and Tasmania have secured. What is happening to us here in the Southwest is unjust. We love where we live and we are actively defending it for our kids. The fact that it may take months or years does not deter us. We are ready."
The framework also reveals that fracking exploration projects in the Kimberley will need to be on a much larger scale than communities may have realised. The report states that the ‘remoteness’ of the Kimberley means that developments in the Canning Basin might need to be on a larger scale than those in the Perth Basin to be economically viable.
Australian Conservation Foundation, Kimberley Project Officer, Wade Freeman said “What we’re looking at is dirty fossil fuel industry in the Fitzroy River floodplain and upstream of the National Heritage and Ramsar listed Roebuck Bay. There is no new protection or legislation here; it’s the same open door approach to fracking, which has approved test fracks with no EPA assessment and no cumulative impact study for gasfield development - setting a precedent to scale up dramatically without any of the standard environmental safeguards.”
“What confidence do we have also in this alliance with the WA Department of Indigenous Affairs to protect Indigenous values in the face of industrialization, when the very department meant to protect Aboriginal heritage removes 23 sites from its register including 30,000 year old rock art from the Burrup Peninsula?”
The report also admits that “to maintain constant production, the gasfield will require ongoing drilling and completion of new wells, due to the initial rapid decline of gas flow from individual wells”.
Chantelle Roberts added “This is the first time we are seeing the Government admit that the industry will need to drill and frack a large number of wells – and keep drilling and fracking in order for a gasfield to be viable. We could then see hundreds or thousands of gaswells drilled in one region and without any community rights to veto, how will a town or a farmer be able to say enough is enough?”
Media comment: Chantelle Roberts Ph 9420 7266 / 0416 363 027
Wade Freeman: Ph 0437 107 605 / 08 91921936
Spokespeople from Mid West and South West available for comment