South Australian Liberals announce regional fracking ban after damning Parliamentary report

The South Australian Liberal Party has proved opposition to fracking crosses the political divide, announcing a ten year moratorium on unconventional gas extraction in the State’s South East.

The SA Liberal’s announcement came as the State Parliament’s Natural Resource Committee released the results of its two year Inquiry into Unconventional Gas Development in the South East of South Australia. The Tasmanian Liberals adopted a five year moratorium on fracking last year.

The Committee’s recommendations include blocking gas industry activity if communities don’t support it, reforming regulations including to ensure a proper separation of government agencies’ ‘regulator’ and ‘promoter’ roles, and requiring a ‘definitive proposal’ for unconventional gas development in the region before further development so as to ensure proper environmental, social and economic impacts are understood first.

The Committee also stressed the need for groundwater to be properly considered before unconventional gas activity progressed, and warned of the mid to long term risks from leaking unconventional gas wells and surface spills.

Frack Free Future Coordinator Jules Kirby praised the Report and the SA Liberals’ announcements, saying their concern over fracking is something that crosses the political divide.

“The SA Parliament’s Committee report into unconventional gas is as politely damning to the industry as could be imagined – they’re clear on the risks of leaking wells and surface frack fluid containment ponds, and pull no punches on the need to respect communities’ rights to refuse this industry.

“The robust and well-evidenced SA report makes a mockery of WA’s lopsided Inquiry into unconventional gas and fracking.

“Even more interesting is how the politics have played out in mirror opposite to WA, with the opposition Liberals proposing a regional ban just like WA Labor have done for the South West, while governing SA Labor lambasted the Liberals with spurious concocted claims about lost gas jobs, completely ignoring the risk fracking poses to the existing farming and tourism industries.

“These welcome developments in South Australia are yet another warning from the east – opposition to fracking is a vote winner, whatever party you are. With the WA election due in March next year, it’s time for us voters to tell politicians of all stripes we want a frack free future for Western Australia.

“Understandably the Committee attempts an impartial position in stating the specific process of hydraulic fracturing aka fracking might not be unsafe if properly regulated and managed – but they will know as well as the rest of us that it is effectively impossible to regulate the multitude of wells in an unconventional gasfield. That’s why they’ve come to the conclusion they have – ban unconventional gas altogether.”

Links:

Natural Resources Committee report: https://www.parliament.sa.gov.au/Committees/Pages/Committees.aspx?CTId=5&CId=175

ABC reporting:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-29/fracking-report-recommends-suspending-unconvential-processes/8075724


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