Siewert spouts the activist line on WA gas development

May 8th, 2015

WA Senator Rachel Siewert is the latest Greens MP to join the misinformation brigade on the topic of natural gas development, labelling it the ‘latest onslaught’ to agriculture.

Senator Siewert, the Greens spokesperson for Agriculture and Rural Affairs, showed a worrying willingness to spout activist dogma in a recent statement on gas development. Unfortunately, the statement also showed a lack of understanding of the industry history and regulation in Western Australia.

In a release to the media, Senator Siewert states that: “shale gas fracking and drilling is the latest onslaught to agricultural and regional communities, causing land disturbance and a significant threat of contamination and disruption of the water table in the region”.

In actual fact, exploration for onshore natural gas has taken place in the Mid West of Western Australian since the 1960s, and in 1971 production first began from the Dongara gas field when the construction of the WA Natural Gas (now called Parmelia) pipeline was completed.

In that time more than 200 wells have been drilled in the Mid West, so it’s hardly a new phenomenon.

Senator Siewert’s opinion that “farms, water supplies and the natural environment including national parks and nature reserves are threatened if fracking goes ahead” highlights her lack of appreciation of the process, safeguards and safe history of the mature engineering process, hydraulic fracturing, that is used in a number of industries.

Hydraulic fracturing (or fracture stimulation) has been operating safely in Western Australia for more than 50 years with more than 780 wells fracked during that time.

The Mid West has itself been the subject of multiple hydraulic fracture operations, with no adverse environmental impact.

And the output, natural gas, has been providing essential heating and cooking means to homes and businesses across Western Australia.

Senator Siewert also refers to a community survey which is circulating in the Mid West, in a similar form to many others which have been circulated by activist groups in the eastern states.

If the survey is indeed a product of the same activist handbook as those on the east coast, it will show a marked disregard for principles of proper survey work and be more inclined toward the well-known ‘push poll’ technique, with the resultant biased outcome.

+ Leave a Comment

We encourage you to join the conversation. By commenting on this post, you agree to our comment guidelines.