ALP and Greens agree on proposed fracking reforms, gas industry slams the proposal
The Greens have welcomed a Labor policy on gas extraction, but say it is a replica of its policy from three years ago.
If it wins the federal election, the ALP will amend so-called water trigger legislation to include all forms of unconventional gas.
The water trigger was introduced by the previous Labor government, giving the Federal Government power over the states to asses the impacts of coal seam gas (CSG) and coal mines on local water supplies.
It enshrined water as being of “national importance” and required projects to be subject to the scrutiny of an independent expert scientific group.
Fracking is the process of fracturing rock underground to release trapped gas by the high pressure injection of water, sand and chemicals.
Greens Queensland senator Larissa Waters said her party had a long-held position on any gas project that requires fracking.
This is just an election pitch for Green votes. It won’t improve environmental outcomes
Malcolm Roberts, CEO, APPEA
“Extending the water trigger so it can protect against the dangers of shale gas and tight gas as well as coal seam gas, is something that the Greens moved an amendment for three years ago,” Senator Waters said.
“And the Labor party, along with the Liberal and National parties, voted against the amendment.
“I very much welcome the Labor party has done a complete 180 on this issue but it should never have been protection only for people on the east coast where most of the coal seam gas is.
“It (water trigger legislation) should’ve always included shale and tight gas so that people in the west and the north and south have an equivalent level of protection.”
Gas industry says ‘politically motivated policy’ will deter investment
The oil and gas industry questions the need to extend the parameters of the existing water-trigger legislation.
I very much welcome the Labor party [doing] a complete 180 turn around on this issue.
Larissa Waters, Greens Senator
Malcolm Roberts, the CEO of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (AMMA), said he believed the ALP was angling for Green voters.
“The political nature of the water trigger is quite obvious,” he said.
“It was a political fix fix by the Gillard government, at the time, to secure Tony Windsor’s vote back in 2013.
“This is just an election pitch for Green votes. It won’t improve environmental outcomes but it will deter future investment in the gas industry in Australia.”
ALP defends extension of water trigger legislation
Labor envionrment spokesman Mark Butler denied his announcement to extend the water trigger legislation was politically motivated, despite the ALP knocking back the same policy by the Greens in 2013.
“I think at the time, the major focus was on coal seam gas developments on the east coast, but what we’ve seen since is an increasing focus by the industry on shale gas developments,” he said.
“They raise the same questions for communities; ‘how does this development impact on our water table and ground water resources’ which is what we’ll address.”
Mr Butler also refuted APPEA’s claims that the policy would deter future investment.
“At the end of the day communities are going to be much more likely to grant a social license to these developments if they know there has been a rigorous, independent, scientific assessment about the impact of those developments on the natural environment, particularly on our water resources.”