Bell rings in bill for 10-year fracking ban

Bell moves on SE fracking ban


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LEGISLATION PROMISE: Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell introduced his bill last week into state parliament to legislate a 10 year moratorium on fracking in the South East. It is expected to be voted on in September but so far the government, which made the promise in 2016, are reluctant to support it.

LEGISLATION PROMISE: Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell introduced his bill last week into state parliament to legislate a 10 year moratorium on fracking in the South East. It is expected to be voted on in September but so far the government, which made the promise in 2016, are reluctant to support it.

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South East residents will not accept anything less than a legislated 10-year ban on hydraulic fracturing for gas in the region, according to Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell.

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South East residents will not accept anything less than a legislated 10-year ban on hydraulic fracturing to extract gas from the region, according to Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell.

Last week, he introduced his private members bill, which seeks to enshrine in law that no gas projects involving hydraulic fracturing (fracking) can be approved in the SE, for the next decade.  

The proposed amendment to the Petroleum and Geothermal Act 2000 covers seven SE council areas and is expected to be voted on in September.

Greens MLC Mark Parnell has similar legislation in the Upper House.

Mr Bell says the response from government MP’s has been “luke warm” with their preference to rely on a departmental directive.

He says if the Liberals do not support his bill it will be a “massive breach” of community trust.

In November 2016, then-opposition leader Steven Marshall promised if elected his government would put in place a 10 year moratorium on fracking in the SE, in response to the findings of the Natural Resources Committee.

The NRC found there was no social licence for gas companies to frack in the SE.

“There is not one person in the SE that believes that a departmental directive is the same thing as a 10 year ban on fracking,” Mr Bell said.

He says it would give the mining industry and community more time to make a sound decision.

“It is misleading for the mining companies to say they have been fracking for 40 years in the Cooper Basin when the fracking being done has only been developed in the last 10 years,” he said. “The science has not been done in the SE either for fracking over limestone country with aquifers and it needs to be.”

But SA Chamber of Mines and Energy chief executive officer Rebecca Knol says the bill is “politically motivated” and undermines the strong regulatory systems already in place.

"It is a move that creates sovereign risk concerns, investment uncertainty and regulatory confusion that has the potential to limit resources sector investment at a time when it is most needed for our state,” she said.

"The South Australian resources sector is responsible for a third of the state’s exports and returns $213 million in royalties to the SA Government.”

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