THE WA Fracking Inquiry was set up after the new Labor Government came into office in Western Australia in March 2017.
The inquiry was an election promise by the incoming government following widespread community concern over fracking and other forms of onshore gas development in WA.
The inquiry’s terms of reference are limited however we urge all West Australians to take the opportunity to make a submission to the inquiry.
The inquiry is being conducted by a scientific panel under the Environmental Protection Act.
As well as the inquiry, the State Government made an election promise to ban fracking in the South West, Peel and metro regions and to bring in a fracking moratorium covering the rest of the state while the inquiry was underway.
The fracking bans in the south west, Peel and metro regions have been gazetted but are not protected by an Act of Parliament. These bans could be overturned by the Mines Minister at any point.
The current moratorium on fracking, or temporary ban, is in force until June 2020.
The panel will assess and report on the potential impacts of fracking in regions covered by the moratorium. It will not be assessing the risks of fracking in the South West, Peel and Metro regions. But people in those regions are still encouraged to make a submission to the inquiry.
The panel says it will base its report and recommendations to Government “on credible scientific and historical evidence related to risks, and their potential mitigation through appropriate regulation. “
As part of its investigations the inquiry will be hearing from experts and community members through public forums.
The dates and places for the forums can be found here:
The following is a cut and paste extract from the inquiry’s website:
“This is a scientific inquiry, and the Panel are seeking input from stakeholders and the public to assist the inquiry to ensure the Panel has:
- A full and appropriate understanding of the environmental values potentially at risk from unconventional oil and gas developments involving hydraulic fracture stimulation;
- Any data or other evidence that might inform a scientific risk analysis of those impacts, with an emphasis on local geographies and geologies, and local evidence from Western Australia; and
- Any reflections or experience on what a regulatory framework should ideally look like if the Government lifts the current Moratorium.
The Panel will consider perspectives, concerns and projections of onshore hydraulic fracture stimulation in Western Australia, within the scope of the Terms of Reference, as well as technical evidence that would inform their consideration.
Submissions to the inquiry are open until 19th March 2018.”