Western Australia bans fracking for onshore projects
The Western Australian (WA) Government has banned hydraulic fracture stimulation (fracking) for existing and future petroleum projects in the South-West, Peel and Perth metropolitan regions.
The government also implemented the ban on the use of fracking throughout the rest of WA.
Under the moratorium, companies cannot use fracking during exploration or production.
An independent scientific enquiry chaired by Environmental Protection Authority chairperson Tom Hatton has been commissioned to understand the implications of fracking.
Western Australia Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said: "The McGowan Government recognises the need to protect the state's environment from risks associated with extracting petroleum products using fracking.
"We appreciate there is a level of community concern around fracking in WA, which is why we are commissioning an independent scientific enquiry.”
There is currently a ban on fracking in the Northern Territory region in Australia.
Western Australia Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said: "The McGowan Government recognises the need to protect the state's environment from risks associated with extracting petroleum products using fracking.
"We will not compromise the environment, agriculture, groundwater and public health in WA.”
In a response, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (Appea) has condemned the decision taken by the government and stated that investments worth more than A$380m ($302m) in new gas projects have been stalled in the wake of the ban.
The industry body questioned the need for a second enquiry and noted that fracking is a safe practice and the decision will impact investments in the region.
Appea WA chief operating officer Stedman Ellis said: “The Environment and Public Affairs Committee considered all of the evidence and listened to all sides of the debate before unanimously concluding after a two-year enquiry that any concerns about fracking can be addressed through regulation and ongoing monitoring.
“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.”