Landholders and concerned residents have welcomed a decision by the Shire of Chittering and Shire of Mundaring to express significant concern about fracking or any other form of unconventional gas development within their boundaries.
The Chittering decision passed unanimously at the council meeting last Wednesday, and council also resolved to endorse the recent decision by the WA Nationals to support landholders’ right of veto over oil and gas companies wanting access to private land.
The Mundaring motion passed by majority last Tuesday called for planning controls to oppose gas fracking in any form within the council boundaries.
Lower Chittering landholder and member of the Country Women’s Association, Jill Charles said the council was responding to a ‘Gasfield Free Declaration’ by locality of Chittering residents two weeks ago, which saw 99.4% of 167 residents surveyed declare to keep their region gasfield free, after a town hall meeting in Muchea was attended by over 120 people in September.
“There is a gas exploration permit over a large part of the Shire of Chittering, which means our region is at risk of fracking and industrialization over our region, for short-term profit of a gas company
“We congratulate the council for taking this step to support the residents, local businesses, the environment and tourism of our precious Shire,” Mrs Charles said.
“While this is a positive step, we know that it does not mean the end of this threat to our way of life from an invasive industry. We call on the State Government to implement a moratorium on unconventional gas and rule out fracking until it’s proven safe via an independent scientific enquiry.
As part of the Shire of Chittering motion, Councillors requested a report on unconventional gas mining from the Council CEO before the next meeting in January.
Mundaring landholder Eileen Dallas congratulated the Shire of Mundaring on their decisive action, after Cr John Daw attended a public meeting in the shire recently.
“We are pleased that the council has acted quickly to stem growing concern at the prospect of this industry’s risk to our natural resources, even though currently the exploration permits are outside of the Shire boundary,” Mrs Dallas said.
“However, the fight against this invasive industry is far from over across WA. These are important first steps and highlight the extent of the community’s concerns, and I hope WA political parties make their positions clear ahead of the upcoming election.
“The Swan and Chittering Valleys are important tourism and agricultural areas, and the Central Midlands and Mid West are Perth’s food bowls. The industrialization of these regions that would follow unconventional gas mining, would put that at risk.