DIRECTOR OF FRACKMAN RELEASES MICRODOCUMENTARY TO SUPPORT ANTI-FRACKING MOVEMENT IN LEAD UP TO STATE ELECTION
‘The incumbents seem to be keen to risk our water, agriculture and our iconic tourist destinations by opening up a gas industry that has not proven the science’, said Director, Richard Todd.
Fracking is a highly risky method of extracting underground gas. The process involves injecting liquid and chemicals at high pressure into subterranean rocks beneath the earth so as to force open existing fissures and extract oil or gas.
A number of well-known Western Australian personalities have come on board as ambassadors to the anti-fracking movement in WA including author Tim Winton, musician John Butler and ex-professional surfer Taj Burrow. Winton joined Todd to create the mini documentary as he feels fracking should be one of the biggest issues on the public’s agenda when it comes to the upcoming state election.
‘The fracking industry is not welcome in WA. A government that welcomes frackers isn’t just reckless – it’s a government that’s completely lost touch with the people’, said Author, Tim Winton.
The biggest threat from fracking to WA is its threat to our drinking water. The US Environmental Protection Agency says fracking has caused significant and sometimes permanent damage to water sources. With plans in motion to drill potentially tens of thousands of wells through our aquifers, this means Western Australia’s drinking water is in danger. With water availability already an important issue in our dry state, WA is particularly vulnerable to aquifer depletion and contamination by unconventional gas extraction. In WA however, no formal Environmental Impact Assessment of any fracking activity has been undertaken by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) despite thousands of submissions from community members calling for one.
Currently, the West Australian Liberal Government fully supports fracking and has issued exploration licenses across vast areas of the state from Margaret River to Broome. These include covering the Yarragadee north and south aquifers, which supply the drinking water to the entire Perth metro and much of the South West regions.
Hundreds of communities across Australia have already declared themselves ‘gasfield free’ with moratoriums in the Northern Territory and Tasmania, New South Wales reducing licenses and applications from 80% to 7% and Victoria becoming the first state to completely ban the exploration of unconventional gas.
The WA labor government’s current policy on fracking includes a statewide moratorium, whilst the Green’s are calling for a complete ban to the practice, the National party are committed to allowing private landholders to veto gas company activity on their land and One Nation have expressed committed to a ban. Given however their recent agreement to support Colin Barnett’s Liberals, voters will have to ask themselves whether One Nation would be able to maintain their anti-fracking stance as junior partners in a Coalition with the larger party.
‘As we go to the polls here in WA the defining question for all of us must be: which parties will protect us from this dangerous and accident-prone industry, and which will unleash it despite the clear and growing opposition of West Australians throughout the state?’ Said Jules Kirby, Coordinator of Frack Free Future.
Richard Todd, alongside the Frack Free Future alliance, Lock the Gate and other anti-fracking stakeholders are calling for a five-year moratorium on the exploration of unconventional gas and fracking in WA, with immediate permanent bans in sensitive areas such as water catchments and priority water sources. They are also calling for farmers, Traditional Owners and other communities to have the right to refuse fracking on their land.
Todd is asking supporters of the anti-fracking movement to help spread the word and grow awareness about the risks this industry poses to their great state. In particular he is asking them to write to their local representative, request a ‘Frack Free Future’ or a ‘Lock the Gate’ yard sign to display on their property, sign the Stop Fracking Statewide petition [www.frackfreefuture.org.au] and most importantly, to vote for a government that doesn’t support fracking in the upcoming state election on Saturday 11 March 2017.
For more information on fracking in WA, please read the Frack Free Future No Fracking WAy briefing document.