WA government places moratorium on fracking, inquiry to be conducted By Martin Kovacs, 6 Sep 2017

The Western Australian government has implemented a ban on fracking for existing and future petroleum titles in the South West, Peel and Perth metropolitan regions, with a moratorium having also been placed on the use of fracking throughout the rest of the state.

The government advised that fracking's future in the state will be decided following an independent scientific inquiry, to be chaired by Environmental Protection Authority Chairperson Tom Hatton.

The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) has criticised the move to conduct the inquiry.

APPEA Chief Operating Officer – Western Australia Stedman Ellis stated that a previous inquiry conducted by the Legislative Council’s Environment and Public Affairs Committee had “considered all of the evidence and listened to all sides of the debate before unanimously concluding after a two-year inquiry that any concerns about fracking can be addressed through regulation and ongoing monitoring”.

“The committee’s findings echoed those of more than a dozen other inquiries in Australia and countless independent reviews and studies which all confirmed that fracking is safe,” Ellis stated. “The Health Department says fracking can be done without compromising drinking water and Australia’s Chief Scientist says the evidence shows it’s ‘completely safe’.

“This is not a new technology. According to the Department of Mines and Petroleum, more than 600 wells have been fracked in WA in the past 55 years with no evidence of environmental harm.

“WA does not need another fracking inquiry. What it desperately needs is new jobs, investment and royalties to help repair the state budget.”