The West Australian government has banned fracking in the popular south west tourist region and put in place a statewide moratorium, pending an independent scientific inquiry.
Premier Mark McGowan on Tuesday announced his government was banning existing and future fracking petroleum titles in Perth and the South West and Peel regions.
An inquiry led by Environmental Protection Authority chairperson Tom Hatton will assess the risk and regulations of fracking, used to extract petroleum products for the development of unconventional oil and gas supplies.
Onshore fracking in WA is restricted to shale gas since no commercially viable deposits of coal have been identified.
Stedman Ellis, chief executive of the WA arm of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, said an inquiry by the Environment and Public Affairs committee had already found fracking posed a “negligible risk” to the environment.
“The committee’s findings echoed those of more than a dozen other inquiries in Australia and countless independent reviews and studies which all confirmed that fracking is safe,” he said.
Since the McGowan government swept into power in March there has been an effective moratorium on all fracking projects, which Mr Ellis claims has stalled $380 million in investment in new projects.
“WA does not need another fracking inquiry. What it desperately needs is new jobs, investment and royalties to help repair the state budget.
“The industry should be allowed to get on with it.”