“SOMETIMES you have to make a hard call and this is a hard call.”
So said State opposition leader Mark McGowan in Mandurah after he announced that a Labor Government, if elected in March, would ban fracking in the Peel region, the South West and the metropolitan area.
“Because of the unique natural environment, high population, land use patterns, and the three kilometre deep Yarragadee aquifer, fracking is an unacceptable risk to farming and tourism,’’ he said.
Some areas had already been pegged for fracking in the South West and the Swan Valley.
Mr McGowan said he still supported mineral sand and bauxite mining but the Labor position on fracking was clear.
“Labor and Liberals have a different view on fracking and our position is to rule it out,” he said.
“Let the people decide at the State election in March.
“The Perth metropolitan and Peel regions contain land that boasts enormous farming, horticultural and viticultural value.
“The Swan Valley region is a major drawcard for international visitors.
“These industries are incredibly important to WA’s economy and combined with the depth of the Yarragadee aquifer and land use patterns, these regions are unsuitable for fracking.
The ban announcement followed a strong campaign by Collie MLA Mick Murray to make the South West a ‘frack free’ zone.
Mr McGowan said the measures would put to bed the fracking issue.
“The ban would finally offer the community the protections it’s been demanding,’’ he said.
“They understand the unique natural environment of the Perth and Peel regions, combined with land use patterns and the depth of the Yarragadee aquifer means it is not suitable for fracking, given the important tourism, agriculture and viticulture industries.”
He said WA Labor would focus its efforts on industries that created long-term job opportunities.
Pinjarra-born musician John Butler has thrown his support behind the ban fracking campaign and will host two Frack Off concerts in the South West next month with a clear message to the offshore gas operators setting up in the South West.
More than 4500 people have snapped up tickets to the first concert.
Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside.
Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure allowing gas to flow to the head of the well.