ANTI-FRACKERS, including some in the Swan Valley, are collecting signatures on a petition they plan to present to Parliament on Thursday, October 11.
While the scientific inquiry into fracking in WA report was handed to the McGowan Government yesterday anti-frackers are continuing to campaign around the state.
Also Swan Hills MLA Jessica Shaw has confirmed her support for a ban on fracking at a public meeting organised by her constituents.
Ms Shaw said during the state election she had repeatedly expressed her opposition to fracking and her view had not changed.
“I have grave concerns that fracking will compromise the environment, ground water, public health and will contribute adversely to climate change,’’ she said.
“Western Australians should not have to wear the risks.”
Ms Shaw, who has a background in the energy industry, said she would work with other MPs towards a permanent ban.
She said her electorate was telling her that they did not want or need fracking and she was keen to represent their views.
“We should be focusing on more sustainable sources of energy, including renewables and batteries.”
Lock the Gate in WA spokeswoman Simone van Hattem said MPs had been getting emails and phone calls from electors calling for a legislated, state-wide ban on fracking in WA.
Gasfield Free Swan Valley Alliance member Bryan Whan said Ms Shaw’s statements gave hope to those who had signed the petition.
In October 2016 now Planning Minister Rita Saffioti, who was then Labor’s planning spokeswoman, said the Mines and Petroleum Minister’s direction restricting gas exploration in the Swan Valley should be spelt out in planning legislation.
In July 2015 the Barnett government had issued a direction under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources Act 1967 preventing petroleum exploration operations that would interfere with the surface of the land delineated in Section 4 of the Swan Valley Planning Act 1995.
But Bill no protection from fracking (Echo News, October 20, 2016) established the directive was not set in stone and could be changed by a future minister.
The 2017 inquiry’s background and issues paper is available on the inquiry’s website https://frackinginquiry.wa.gov.au
The paper said hydraulic fracturing and its associated activities may impact beneficial use by degrading or restricting access to land that would have been used for other productive purposes including agriculture.
Companies undertaking any petroleum related activity in WA are expected to comply with national and international standards.
“Established standards for well integrity include the principle of having at least two barriers between the subsurface environment and the interior of the well,’’ the paper said.
“This assists in the prevention of petroleum loss into the subsurface or aboveground environment, while also reducing the potential for water and other material from entering the well and contributing to groundwater contamination.’’
By Anita McInnes