THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8: Some of Australia’s most prominent voices including Paul Kelly, Jimmy Barnes, John Butler, Peter Garret, Missy Higgins, Tim Winton, Fiona Stanley, Janet Holmes a Court, Carmen Lawrence and Peter Newman have united in a call to Premier Mark McGowan to protect theState’s Kimberley from the controversial practice of gas fracking.
The Kimberley is one of the world’s outstanding natural landscapes that has been under thecontinuing custodianship of Aboriginal people for at least 60,000 years. It is recognised globally as having the most intact coastline, comparable to the Arctic and Antarctica and also has the world’s largest, most intact, tropical savannah.
The West Australian McGowan Government was elected on a platform of banning fracking in the southwest of the state with a moratorium elsewhere, including the Kimberley, whilst an inquiry was conducted. Labor also promised veto rights on fracking for Traditional Owner groups in the Kimberley.
The Inquiry has now reported to the government but its content remains under wraps. A decision is expected before Christmas as to whether fracking can take place in the Kimberley and the Mid-west.
Kimberley Labor Member of Parliament Josie Farrer has called for a statewide ban on fracking and the Member for Swan Hills, Jessica Shaw has publicly supported this position. Itis known that many other MP’s and Minister’s in the WA Labor Government do not wantfracking.
With a decision imminent, prominent West Australians and Australians including musicians, writers, business leaders, medical experts, tourism operators and sports stars have united in a call to protect the Kimberley from fracking.
In an open letter published as a full page advertisement in the West Australian Newspaper today, they have acknowledged that fracking has been banned in the southwest, and that the world renowned Kimberley and important farming areas of the Mid-west deserve the same protection.
They are calling on Premier McGowan to ban fracking through the whole state not just the southwest.
A recent report has shown that fracking in the Kimberley’s Canning Basin would prevent Australia from meeting its international obligations on climate change under the Paris Agreement. Instead, Western Australia could join world leaders in renewable energy.
Today’s call adds to an open letter that was delivered by some of Australia’s leading climates cientists and experts calling for fracking to be banned in WA due to its unacceptable climate change impacts.
One of the organisers of the advertisement musician John Butler said the Kimberley was under attack and fracking needed to be stopped.
“There’s a whole battalion of industrial and political players that want to make the Kimberley the next Pilbara and we all know how that worked out for the locals there on the ground,” Mr Butler said.
“Now they want to start an onshore empire in the Kimberley with a proposed 40,000+ gas fracking wells. That’s one per person in the region!
“This is an industry that has left destruction where ever it operates. Drilling through precious water aquifers, exploding charges and releasing toxic chemicals. Flaring off harmful gases and leaving land owners and traditional owners no right of veto on whether or not the industry can use their land. This industry stinks from top to bottom, verges on environmental terrorism and we have no choice but to draw a line in the sand and stop them.”