WA Labor forgets the facts about fracking

October 7th, 2016

The wind might not be blowing in South Australia, but there is plenty of hot air in Western Australia.

In his plan to win the election in March, WA Labor Party Leader Mark McGowan is attempting to drum up support in the form of an online petition for a segregated fracking ban within Western Australia targeting the South West, Peel and Perth Metropolitan areas.

Perhaps not surprisingly, it’s being pushed along by local ALP MP Mick Murray, whose electoral support is generated in the coal sector.

“Under a McGowan Labor Government, the unique tourism and agriculture industries in the South West, Peel and Perth regions will be at the forefront of WA Labor’s plans to diversify our economy and create new jobs.”

But the real question here is why? One of the most puzzling aspects of the call to impose a moratorium is that it comes from a party that claims to represent workers.

Threatening an industry which generates jobs, provides State revenue and delivers energy needs for business and homes makes no sense – not to mention that the technology of hydraulic fracturing has been used safely worldwide in more than two million wells.

And part of the reason for the decision, he received a petition with 2000 signatures – cue every activist group who wants some form of change to embark on another round of pro forma letters.

Imposing a region-specific moratorium goes against all of the scientific evidence that supports an onshore oil and gas industry – one which has been operating in WA and coexisting with other industries for more than 50 years.

On the state-wide scale, it has already been acknowledged by the West Australian Parliament that hydraulic fracturing can be conducted safely provided appropriate regulations are in place and minimum standards are implemented.

Two Labor MPs sat on that inquiry, Stephen Dawson and Samantha Rowe. Mr Rowe was in fact Deputy Chairman and neither produced a dissenting report.

The inquiry lasted two years, so was exhaustive, but appears to have been given short shrift by the ALP even though they were active participants in it.

It seems that the populism of musician John Butler has more impact on ALP policy than science and its own parliamentary members.

The minister’s own government has clearly defined rules and regulations to protect the farmland which “boasts enormous farming, horticultural and viticultural value.”

Former Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion has also outlined the benefits being generated in the Kimberley as a direct result of the onshore oil and gas industry operating in the area.

APPEA’s Chief Executive Dr Malcolm Roberts said “at a time when the Western Australian economy is struggling and unemployment is rising, it is disappointing to see WA Labor choose short term politics over regional jobs and investment.”

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