Formal gazettal of fracking bans

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While welcoming the state government’s formal gazettal of fracking bans Lock the Gate says more than 500 submissions have been made to the fracking inquiry. Picture: Moore River Region Gas Field Free/Facebook

MOORE River area residents concerned about fracking will no doubt welcome the state government’s formal gazettal of fracking bans covering the South West, Peel and metropolitan areas.

Lock the Gate Alliance, which organised a meeting to be held in Woodridge on Wednesday, November 29 to discuss concerns about fracking, welcomed a move by the government to formalise the fracking moratorium covering the rest of the state until June 2020.

Lock the Gate spokeswoman Jane Hammond said formalising the bans and moratorium gave the community some breathing space to really look at the issues involved with fracking and discuss whether the risks to land, water and health were worth taking.

“We are pleased that the government has seen fit to formally extend the moratorium until June 2020 and we hope that it sticks to that commitment,” she said.

“Across WA we have seen a massive amount of interest in the current fracking inquiry.

“Just this week more than 500 submissions have been received by the inquiry calling for a permanent statewide ban on fracking.”

She said the government had also announced the dates and venues for public hearings of the fracking inquiry.

“We are happy that the inquiry has extended its original count of three sittings to five but we still don’t feel this is sufficient.

“We had asked for additional sittings in the South West and Gascoyne and we still think the inquiry should visit these regions and hear from the people whose lives could be impacted by fracking in the future.

“We think five single days of sittings spread across thousands of square kilometres will not enable everyone who wants to address the inquiry to get the chance.

“We are aware that the inquiry has been given a very limited budget and we hope that this will not hamper its ability to investigate fully this matter of great public importance.”

The inquiry will sit in Perth on Wednesday, February 28 in Dongara on Thursday, March 1 and Dandaragan on Friday, March 2.

In November Lock the Gate Mid West spokeswoman Simone van Hattem said the government had approved gas exploration leases from Guilderton across to Gingin and Muchea, and up to Seabird and Ledge Point, down to the Swan Valley and up all through the Mid West.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said the delegated legislation supported the state-wide fracking moratorium, that had already been implemented, while the scientific inquiry was underway.

Mr Johnston said the inquiry, expected to be completed within 12 months, would address community concerns about fracking.

“Led by the Environmental Protection Authority chairman, Dr Tom Hatton, the inquiry will hold public meetings in Perth and the Mid-West and Kimberley regions, with opportunities for public submissions,’’ he said.

Community members can express their views to the inquiry online, submissions are open until March 19, 2018.

For more information, visit http://www.frackinginquiry.wa.gov.au