Conservationists and landholders say the West Australian government will only go part of the way towards properly regulating the controversial gas extraction method known as fracking.
A Legislative Standing Committee on Environment report into hydraulic fracturing made 12 recommendations to the WA government on Thursday, including banning the use of dangerous chemicals and increasing fines for companies that commit offences.
But the government’s response to the 12 recommendations – 10 of which it accepted at least in part – has drawn criticism from WA Farmers, the Conservation Council WA and anti-fracking campaigners Lock the Gate Alliance.
“As the government is attempting to legislate on this very important issue, all recommendations of the parliamentary committee report must be included to safeguard farmers and freehold landowners when negotiating with the resources sector,” WA Farmers chief executive Stephen Brown said .
Conservation Council WA director Piers Verstegen said groundwater monitoring data would continue to be withheld from the public.
“This is not good enough. The state government has been promising transparency for years but the secrecy continues,” he said.
Mr Verstegen said farmers would also be denied veto rights over fracking being conducted on their land.
But the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association praised the state government’s response to the report.
“In committing to a fact-based approach, the government is providing the regulatory certainty required if WA’s considerable supplies of shale and tight gas are to be converted into jobs and royalties for the state,” APPEA chief operating officer for the western region Stedman Ellis said.