Shire of Mundaring councillors push back on fracking

SHIRE OF Mundaring councillors are calling for planning controls to oppose gas fracking in any form within the council boundaries.

They voted by majority on Tuesday with Cr John Daw who moved the motion to protect residents and the environment from unconventional gas exploration.

The council will write to the WA Planning Commission to investigate consideration of planning controls for unconventional gas exploration or extraction under the Metropolitan Region Scheme.

Cr Daw provided information in support of his motion to oppose gas mining and fracking.

“Unconventional gas fracking technique involves horizontal drilling under water aquifers and the use of water pressure and chemicals to fracture the rock and release the gas,” Cr Daw said.

“The network of pipelines required is very extensive as are the number of horizontal holes drilled, causing considerable environmental damage.

“The principal deposits requiring unconventional drilling found in WA are ‘tight gas’ and ‘shale gas’, both of which require fracking to release the gas; some states such as Victoria have a moratorium or ban on fracking and some countries have also banned it altogether, such as France.”

He said the intent of his motion was ‘virtually the same as the decision passed by the City of Swan on October 19’.

In a report to council, Shire officers said the WA Standing Committee on Environment and Public Affairs identified in 2013 that unconventional gas mining was a source of community concern.

Recent parliamentary inquiries in other states found the gas industry has no licence for unconventional gas exploration and several states implemented statewide bans or moratoriums.

“This appears unlikely in the near future in Western Australia given that there are substantial shale gas reserves located in sparsely populated areas,” officers said in a report to council.

The Shire also noted the uneconomic viability of gas mining and bushfire risk in the Shire.

Parliament’s Environment and Public Affairs Committee 2015 report Implications for Western Australia of Hydraulic Fracturing for Unconventional Gas concluded the use of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene during hydraulic fracturing posed an unacceptable, unnecessary risk to human health and should be banned.

The Shire said there were no current gas exploration permits on land in the Shire.