Despite its pre-election commitments to South East SA communities, the State Liberal Party yesterday voted with the Government against a Parliamentary Inquiry into unconventional gas.
“The 5:1 vote against the Greens’ motion in the Parliamentary Environment, Resources and Development Committee is a slap in the face to SE communities who have been calling for a Parliamentary Inquiry into “fracking” for the last year or so,” said Greens SA Agriculture Spokesperson and Parliamentary Leader, Mark Parnell MLC.
“Whilst the Labor response was predictable (Governments rarely support ANY Parliamentary inquiry), the Liberal stance will be seen by many in the SE as a betrayal. Before the election, Liberal candidates including Mitch Williams and Troy Bell publicly supported a Parliamentary Inquiry. Now, their Party has voted against one.
Every local Council in the SE has expressed concerns about the impact of gas exploration and extraction on traditional agricultural industries and especially groundwater impacts. Each of the seven local Councils has specifically called for either a moratorium on unconventional gas, an Inquiry or both.
Last weekend, dozens of local communities in the District Council of Robe, declared themselves “Gasfield and Invasive Mining Free Areas” in a ceremony with Mayor Peter Riseley. More communities in the SE will soon follow suit.
“In response to the ERD Committee vote, I have now put the question of a Parliamentary Inquiry on the agenda of the Legislative Council. This will be voted on next month, which gives the old parties a chance to reconsider their position.
“The Greens are calling on both the old parties to support a Parliamentary Inquiry into gas. The ERD Committee is already in existence and waiting to be given some work to do.