Cook government’s gas export opens gate for fracking in the Kimberley

Environs Kimberley

Broome based conservation group Environs Kimberley has condemned the latest gas-related announcement by the WA government which encourages the development of a large-scale gas fracking industry in the Kimberley’s Canning Basin for export.

Changes to the domestic gas reservation policy restore the ban on export of on-shore gas sourced from the Perth Basin, while lifting the export ban across the vast Canning Basin covering much of the globally outstanding environmental and cultural values of the Kimberley.

The government’s new policy states, “For the Canning Basin, these gas resources are not connected to the existing pipeline network and as such a normal application of the WA Domestic Gas Policy applies, which requires gas project developers to make available 15 per cent of exports for the domestic market.”

Previously, the export of gas from the Canning basin was banned – putting ongoing attempts to frack and export gas from the region under a cloud.

The change in policy which was enacted without any media statement or consultation with communities across the Kimberley who would be affected by the decision.

“This is a bad decision that has been taken without consideration of the impacts of a gas export industry on the Kimberley. The removal of the export ban from the Canning Basin paves the way for a pipeline to the Pilbara from the Canning Basin which would open the gate to thousands of fracking wells across the Kimberley,” said Environs Kimberley Director of Strategy, Martin Pritchard.

“This is exactly what Kimberley communities have been fighting against. Only last week we saw thousands turn out to warn Premier Cook against supporting a fracking industry in the Canning Basin. Kimberley people know that such an industry would contaminate water, make communities sick, destroy globally significant environmental values and place the Kimberley’s tourism industry at risk.

“Woodside does not have enough gas to feed its giant Burrup Gas Hub expansion in the Pilbara and Premier Cook has just opened the gate for them to source this gas by fracking the Kimberley,” Mr Pritchard said.

“Woodside has failed to get gas processing facilities built before at James Price Point due to a national campaign against it. Any attempt to frack the Kimberley for export would damage their corporate reputation in a much more significant way.

“Previously the WA Government banned fracking in the Southwest, leaving communities in the Kimberley vulnerable to this destructive industry. Once again we are seeing government decisions that sacrifice the communities and environment of the Kimberley for the sake of gas industry profits. One thing can be sure, Kimberley communities will not stand for this.

“The WA Government needs to look at the serious impacts of climate change globally and we’re calling on Premier Roger Cook to ban fracking and gas industrialisation in the world famous Kimberley landscapes.

“This policy change shows that the Cook government is failing to roll out renewables and is basing future energy needs on gas.”

/Public Release.