The Frack Free Future campaign said the State Government appeared to be ignoring community opposition to gas fracking by using Royalties for Regions funds to encourage mineral and petroleum exploration.
The State Budget has revealed the government will subsidise resources companies to the tune of $30 million over the next three years through the Exploration Incentive Scheme.
“The fact that this money comes from the National Party’s signature Royalties for Regions funding seems incredible, since many farmers, who are a key constituency for the party, are against exploration for oil and gas on their land, particularly when it uses hydraulic fracturing,” said Frack Free Future spokesperson Jules Kirby.
“The budget documents acknowledge the very significant public concern about fracking, however the only reassurance provided is to the fracking industry - that fracking approvals will not be delayed, despite these concerns.”
Mr Kirby said it was inappropriate to pull money out of the Royalties for Regions fund to subsidise a practice which many regional communities were against.
“Many farmers are particularly concerned about the lack of veto rights they have when it comes to fracking on their land,” he said.
“Now money from the Royalties for Regions fund, which is supposed to be used to help regional communities, is instead being used to subsidise a practice which they do not want.”
Mr Kirby said it was surprising that the National Party had apparently signed off on Royalties for Regions funding to be used for mining exploration.
“National’s Member for Moore MP Shane Love recently came out in support of veto rights for farmers to enable them to stop fracking from happening on their land, and we would call on all other National MP’s to follow suit, rather than giving cash to the companies whose activities farmers are worried about.”
Fracking exploration licenses have already been issued over many groundwater aquifers in WA, including the Yarragadee north and south aquifers, which supply Perth and the southwest with drinking water.
“We already have serious concerns about the potential impacts of fracking on our groundwater in WA, and we are very concerned that this exploration fund has the potential to put even more of our precious water in jeopardy.”