KALAMUNDA residents and business owners concerned about the dangers they say are posed by the unconventional gas and fracking industry were out over the long weekend spreading their message.
Harrie Smeets from Bickley Valley Asparagus Farm joined other business owners to urge the community to sign a newly launched petition to impose a temporary ban on the industry.
Mr Smeets said companies had been given the go ahead to drill through the Yarragadee north and south aquifers, which supply household drinking water to the entire Perth metropolitan area.
“We need to know much more about the impacts this industry might have on our health and environment and water – these are currently all at stake and all without a formal EPA environmental impact assessment,’’ he said.
A Frack Free Future spokeswoman said so far more than 5000 had signed the petition, which asked for a temporary ban to enable a comprehensive public consultation and independent scientific inquiry to determine if the industry was safe, necessary and wanted by the people of WA.
The group also stopped at Kalamunda MLA John Day’s office to make a public statement about the need for an independent, scientific inquiry into the industry.
Lesmurdie residents Brendon and June Cahill, who also own a cattle property in Forrestdale said they were concerned about the danger fracking posed to water sources.
Walliston resident Hermann Sandercock from Rathmann Engineering said there was no rational business case for endangering the long term of our water.
“We have so much oil and gas on the marker that there is an oversupply,” he said.
“The long term impacts on our water and environment doesn’t make sense.”
Areas of WA licensed for exploration by unconventional gas and fracking companies including into the hills area with the Swan Valley earmarked for exploration.
Frack Free Future coordinator Jules Kirby said the unconventional gas and fracking industry poses a serious threat to WA’s drinking water and that a five-year moratorium should be immediately enacted by parliament.
“Overseas and in the east the unconventional gas and fracking industry has caused serious and sometimes permanent damage to household water, land, health and community,” he said.
“There couldn’t be a bigger issue for people to consider when casting a vote this Saturday – will the next government protect us from this dangerous and accident-prone industry, or let it rip across our state?’’
Mr Kirby urged the community to visit www.frackfreefuture.org.au to sign the petition.
Department of Mines and Petroleum executive director petroleum Jeff Haworth said there were no current or proposed petroleum exploration permits in the Perth Hills (including the shires of Mundaring and Kalamunda).
“The Swan Valley planning area has a ministerial direction in place preventing access to any areas within the Swan Valley for the purposes of petroleum exploration and production,’’ he said.
“Further, the underlying geology of the Perth Hills, which is granite, is not prospective for petroleum, including shale and tight gas (unconventional gas).’’
But in Swan Valley restriction could change (Echo News, October 13, 2016) the department said the Petroleum and Goethermal Energy Resources Act 1967 allowed for revocation or alteration if a future Mines and Petroleum Minister wished to make changes to a ministerial direction.
By Anita McInnes