MONDAY, June 18, 2018: The State Government has announced it is to fund new seismic surveys in the Pilbara in a move Greens MP Robin Chapple said amounted to an “effective subsidy for fracking companies”.
The announcement comes while the state is still covered by a fracking moratorium with the government yet to announce whether it will give the go-ahead to fracking in WA.
Mr Chapple accused the Mines Minister of undermining the fracking moratorium by spending taxpayers money on survey work designed to help oil and gas companies.
“The Minister is making it look as if the McGowan Government has already made up its mind about fracking and will open up the Kimberley and possibly the Pilbara to invasive gasfields such as those we have seen in Queensland and the US.
“Governments and states across the world have banned fracking and the ALP agreed to ban fracking in the Southwest, Peel and Perth because of the risks to tourism, horticulture and amenity.
“Just because there are fewer people in the Kimberley and Pilbara, it doesn’t mean the country is ‘empty’ and can be sacrificed.
“The opposite is true: Traditional Owners are on country all the time carrying out cultural practices and getting traditional foods.
“The Labor Party promised veto rights for Traditional Owners at the election but we haven’t heard anything more: instead, we have heard a lot from the Minister about promoting and subsidising fracking companies.”
The seismic survey started yesterday, Sunday June 17 and involves high tech “thumper trucks” testing more than 900km of the Pilbara from Kiwirrkurra in the east to Marble Bar in the Pilbara.
The survey will look at the deep geology of the Kidson sub basin, an as yet relatively unexplored region of the Canning Basin.
The project is being funded by the State Government’s Exploration Incentive Scheme and the Commonwealth’s Exploring for the Future program. It is expected to last 10 to 12 weeks.
The Kidson Sub-basin research is a collaboration between the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety and Geoscience Australia (GA), a division of the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.
WA Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said the research would increase understanding of the earth’s basic structure to a depth of 40km.