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WA partially lifts fracking moratorium

WA Premier Mark McGowan announced on 28 November that the government would release suspension of the practice on existing onshore petroleum titles after an independent inquiry found the risk to be low.

As a result, fracking will be permitted in approximately 2 per cent of the state, while the practice will remain outlawed in Perth, Peel and the South West regions, as well as the Dampier Peninsula and any public drinking water source areas.

The royalty rate for unconventional oil and gas will also increase 10 per cent, with the added funds to be used to support new renewable energy projects, while landowners will also have the right to oppose developments if they so choose.

Premier McGowan said the policy was about safety as well as industry.

“Banning fracking on existing petroleum titles after the scientific inquiry found the risk from fracking is low, would undermine WA’s reputation as a safe place to invest and do business,” he said.

“At the same time, it is crucial that the industry demonstrates that it has the support of landowners who, for the first time, will be able to say yes or no to any fracking production on their land.

WA Premier Mark McGowan.

“This is a balanced and responsible policy that supports economic opportunity, new jobs, environmental protection and landowner rights.”

WA Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said safety in the industry was paramount.

“WA has a long history of safe and responsible oil and gas operations and is a world-class industry regulator,” he said.

“The report demonstrates that the risks associated with fracking are minimal and can be safely managed under this balanced policy.”

The decision to lift the moratorium was welcomed by the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA), with APPEA Chief Executive Dr Malcolm Roberts saying a continuation of the moratorium would have needlessly damaged the oil and gas industry in WA.

APPEA Chief Executive Malcolm Roberts.

“The inquiry shows there is no environmental or public health justification for maintaining the moratorium,” he said.

“The inquiry also rejects claims that onshore projects will mean a significant increase in emissions.

“While the industry would have preferred the removal of the moratorium across the state, this decision will give communities in regional WA the choice to support local projects and jobs.”

For more information visit the WA Government website.

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