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July 23, 2020: McGowan Government backflips on fracking commitment?

It appears the McGowan Government has broken a commitment to restrict fracking to existing petroleum leases, according to Lock the Gate Alliance.

The WA Government has announced the release of four large petroleum exploration lots making up over 14,000km2 located in the Pilbara, Gascoyne, Mid West, and Wheatbelt.

One of the lots, near Carnarvon, is described as "a shale play which potentially will contain the best gas prone source beds in the Carnarvon basin", indicating fracking would be required to extract the gas from the shale.

Lock the Gate WA spokesperson Jarrad Thomas said the release of the exploration licences showed the McGowan Government was trying to quietly open up more land to fracking.

“We know there are shale and tight gas reserves here, and that companies would need to frack to extract that gas,” he said.

“The references to shale gas, reportedly made by WA’s Department of Mines, Industry Regulation, and Safety, further prove this would absolutely include fracking.

“The McGowan Government has also failed to implement many of the regulations it said it would when it ruled fracking could only occur in two per cent of the state in 2018, and has instead kicked the can down the road to beyond the next election.

“The veto right for landholders and Traditional Owners is not in place, the industry code of conduct is not in place, and the EPA assessment policy has not been finalised.”

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