WA Nationals vote unanimously for landholders’ right to veto gas company access

Delegates at the WA Nationals annual conference in Geraldton have voted unanimously in support of a motion to grant landholders the right to refuse gas companies access to their properties. Nationals MP Paul Brown, who moved the motion, said[1] this mean his party’s policy is now to provide such a right.

Although this right exists with respect to other industries, such as mining for minerals and metals, gas exploration and extraction is granted special exception by separate legislation[1]. This means farmers and other landholders currently have no right to prevent companies drilling and fracking on their land.

Frack Free Future coordinator Jules Kirby praised Nationals members for responding to widespread concerns about unconventional gas and fracking, but warned the leadership needs to prove it understands the scale of the threat posed by the industry.

“WA Nationals’ motion to grant landholders veto rights against gas companies won unanimous support, showing yet again how strongly communities across WA are rejecting the unconventional gas and fracking industry. Let’s now hear it from party leader Brendon Grylls – will he listen to the people and call a halt to unconventional gas, or kowtow to the gas industry.”

“The Nat’s motion shows the race to win anti-fracking votes at the March State election is well under way. Voters across WA will be deciding which party can be trusted to protect precious water supplies, quality industries like farming and tourism, and the fragile beauty of our internationally famous wildflowers, forests and farmland.”

“The Liberals are currently stalled at the starting line – their recently announced Land Access Working Group is stacked with gas industry representatives and won’t even report until 2018[2]. Meanwhile Labor needs to prove its planned moratorium on unconventional gas involves a full, five-year halt to the industry whilst a thorough, evidence-based review takes place.”

The Frack Free Future alliance welcomed[3] Labor leader McGowan’s recent announcement of a fracking ban between Perth and the South West, but warned voters will wonder why their precious water supplies, friends and families in other parts of WA, such as the Mid West and Kimberley, don’t deserve the same protection.”

For further comment please call Jules Kirby on 0421 969 554 or email [email protected]

[1] For more information see the Frack Free Future briefing on regulations concerning unconventional gas and fracking http://www.frackfreefuture.org.au/fracking_regs