GINGIN councillors unanimously voted on Thursday, June 20 to take a position against unconventional fracking but also said the council had no control over fracking in the shire.
Councillors said they supported the overwhelming decision of the annual meeting of electors held on 19 February who wanted the council to refuse to allow unconventional fracking in the Shire of Gingin.
Before the councillors could adopt the motion to take a position against unconventional fracking they revoked a resolution carried on May 16, 2017 to develop a policy on fracking within the shire.
To revoke the 2017 resolution the seven councillors at the June 20 meeting supported a motion put forward by deputy president John Elgin that the council not formulate a policy position with respect to fracking in the shire and that it was the council’s view it had no control over fracking, which is governed by the state government (through the Department of Mines and Petroleum).
In a deputation before councillors voted Gasfield Free Moore River Region Jill Brown said the local community felt the state government’s decision to allow fracking in the region and across the Mid West was irresponsible and unfair.
“Our ground and surface water are precious,’’ she said.
“They are vital to this region, including our horticulture, agriculture, drinking water and for our tourism sector.
“Fracking, an invasive toxic industry, would put our area at risk of contamination and makes no sense.”
In another deputation Lock the Gate in WA spokeswoman Simone van Hattem read out comments from Woodridge resident Jenny Walker.
Mrs Walker had written that she and her neighbours did not want fracking anywhere in the area, especially in areas reliant on clean groundwater and tourism.
“We want the shire to now lobby the state government on creating a ban over this area and look into creating a local policy, as they can have some control of some of the activities of gas companies like seismic testing along roads and waste dumps,’’ she wrote.
Ms van Hattem congratulated the shire on its position and wanted the McGowan Government to know there was increasing opposition to fracking gasfields across the state.
“While the industry is ramping up their onshore exploration activity now that they’ve been given a green light, they haven’t shown any evidence of having social licence,’’ she said.
“The Shire of Gingin has several gas exploration permits in its borders, covering farming and tourism areas, the town of Gingin and a national park.”
She said the permits were held by Mineral Resources which recently took over Empire Oil and Gas, and Macallum Group Ltd.