A member’s question to Mr Pasin on 6th May
Is it true that you believe that the federal government should allow companies to mine coal seam (CSG), tight and shale gas?
Mr Pasin’s reply, excerpts
Thank you for contacting me regarding The Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Bilateral Agreement Implementation) Bill 2014 (the Bill).
In no way does my support for this Bill indicate approval or endorsement for hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in our state’s high value agricultural zones.
In November 2014 I lobbied the State Government to establish an inquiry into potential risks and impacts of unconventional gas mining by means of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in the South East. At the time I welcomed the Legislative Councils referral of this issue to the State Government’s Natural Resources Committee for inquiry.
I have taken a keen interest in the committee’s work and had hoped that a final report would have been tabled by this point. However, it has now been almost 18 months and the State Government’s Natural Resources Committee is yet to finalise its report or recommendations.
I had hoped that the inquiry would have provided the opportunity for proponents and opponents alike to discuss their positions in a formal way, and allow the committee to come to evidence based resolution regarding whether fracking should be allowed in our state’s premium agricultural zone.
Given the inordinate delay in the finalisation of the committee’s inquiry I am no longer prepared to wait for these findings to be tabled to make my position known.
This issue has been a controversial one for the whole of our community. Given the risks to our underground aquifers it is my view that hydraulic fracture simulation in the South East, and indeed in any of our states high value agricultural areas, should be prohibited.
On balance I am not persuaded that the risks to our precious water resource can be sufficiently mitigated. Furthermore I note that any contamination to those aquifers would be impossible to contain and would lead to widespread and catastrophic economic harm.
Sufficient gas resources exist elsewhere in our state and indeed interstate, to support our needs. The South East of South Australia is one of our nation’s most valuable agricultural zones, blessed with fertile soil and a pristine freshwater resource and in those circumstances the risks associated with unconventional gas mining considerably outweigh any benefits associated with the extraction of natural gas from our region.
Accordingly I have called on the State Government to implement a moratorium on unconventional gas mining in our state’s high value agricultural zones.
Tony Pasin MP