Nationals WA Member of Parliament Paul Brown has welcomed the tabling of the report from the Standing Committee on Environment and Public Affairs on the ‘Implications for Western Australia of Hydraulic Fracturing for Unconventional Gas,’ to the Western Australian Parliament.
“Having been a member of the Committee that has spent a considerable amount of time investigating the unconventional shale gas industry that is emerging in Western Australia, I am confident that the report will ensure that private landowners and the government are better able to reconcile the challenges and benefits in development of the industry,” Mr Brown said.
“This inquiry was initiated by the Committee as we saw the considerable level of concern that was being experienced in communities across the state as proposals for shale gas exploration developed.”
“The modern shale gas industry is very early in its development in Western Australia and the Committee has recognised that this gives the WA government the opportunity to learn from both the positive and negative experiences of other states and nations”. Mr Brown said.
The Standing Committee on Environment and Public Affairs held numerous hearings with private citizens, government departments, industry members and opponents of the shale gas industry over the two years of the inquiry, along with visits to sites in the United Kingdom, United States of America and South Australia. The Committee also met with a number of academic, government and Not-for-Profit agencies during their visit overseas.
Mr Brown said, “The Committee has been unanimous in the findings and recommendations that have formed its report to Parliament. We have kept an un-biased view of the industry and determined the facts from the large amount of evidence and opinion that we were provided.”
One of the issues that the Committee focussed on was the importance of land access agreements and has recommended that an independent statutory body be established to better safeguard the ability of landowners to negotiate with resource companies that are seeking to develop shale gas facilities on private land.
“The Committee has also called for more robust regulations to ensure that full transparency of all chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process is available to the public. We have also recommended that the government ban the use of all benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene (BTEX) chemicals in the industry.” Mr Brown said.
The Minister for Minerals and Petroleum, Hon Bill Marmion MLA, will now have ninety days to consider the recommendations that have been made by the Committee in the report before making his response to Parliament on behalf of the government.