There will be a ten-year moratorium on fracking in the South East if a Marshall Liberal Government is elected in March 2018.
When announcing the policy today, State Liberal Leader Steven Marshall said the moratorium would protect current and future jobs and prosperity in the world famous agricultural region.
“The South East’s rich farming land produces world class wine, beef, lamb, wool and a wide range of crops that provide vital jobs and export income for South Australia,” said State Liberal Leader Steven Marshall.
“Primary production in the South East contributes over $1 billion to the South Australian economy every year.
“It makes no sense to put this highly productive region and South Australia’s enviable clean and green reputation at risk by opening up some of our best farming land to fracking.
“Put simply this is a decision with the next hundred years in mind, not just the next ten.
“The South East relies upon ground water for irrigation – risking the safety of that groundwater could be devastating for the South Australian economy and the thousands of people who live and work in the South East.
“We have looked at the available science and the risks associated with fracking in the Limestone Coast Local Government Area and arrived at our position.
“Our position is unanimously supported by the South Australian Parliament’s Natural Resources which is made up of three Labor, two Liberal and one Family First MP and has spent nearly two years investigating this matter.
“Our position is also supported by State Labor Party MPs and it is consistent with the submission of the Department of State Development to the Natural Resources Committee that ‘only if community concerns have been adequately addressed’ will the government consider applications for gas fracking activities in the South East.
“In announcing this moratorium I’m conscious of widespread community anxiety in the South East about the potential damage fracking might do.
“The overwhelming evidence to the Committee was that community concerns have not been adequately addressed.
“Too often the Weatherill Government thinks it can ride roughshod over the wishes of regional South Australian communities.”
It should be noted that unconventional gas exploration is not currently being undertaken in the South East.
The State Liberals’ moratorium on fracking in the South East would not impact on the practice in the Cooper Basin where oil and gas companies have been operating safely for decades and employ hundreds of South Australians.