The Limestone Coast Protection Alliance and Lock the Gate have congratulated the South Australian Liberals on their commitment to ban all unconventional gas activities in the Limestone Coast for 10 years, and urged the SA Labor Government to match it.
The announcement followed the release late yesterday of the Inquiry Report into Unconventional Gas by the Natural Resources Committee of Parliament.
The report concluded that the unconventional gas industry did not have a social licence to operate in the south-east of South Australia and noted they had not been able to find any local people or businesses in favour of the industry during the course of their Inquiry.
Merilyn Paxton, Chair of the Limestone Coast Protection Alliance said “We are delighted that the Liberal Party has stepped up today to protect our region from unconventional gas activities, and we congratulate Steven Marshall on leading the way on this issue”.
“The risks that industrial gasfields pose to our groundwater supplies and our existing agricultural and tourism businesses are just too great. This 10-year ban is exactly what we needed and will be very well received in our region.
“We want to see the SA Labor Government now go ahead and match this commitment. The protection of South Australia’s food bowl should be a bipartisan issue.
“The Parliamentary Inquiry report didn’t go far enough in our opinion to assess the economic risks of unconventional gas on an agricultural region like ours.
“For example, it didn’t consider the fact that most gas companies don’t hold comprehensive environmental pollution insurance and that landholders can’t get cover for the risks posed by the gas industry” she said.
David Black from Eight Mile Creek said “Forty-five communities in the Limestone Coast region have already conducted a democratic survey process and declared themselves Gasfield Free – we need all political parties to act together now to make that a reality.
“The people have long since made up their minds on this issue – across South Australia some 82% of people polled earlier this year said they were concerned about gas fracking.
“We want to congratulate Steven Marshall and the Liberals on listening to Limestone Coast communities and the people of South Australia and taking this important step today” he said.
Phil Laird, National Coordinator with Lock the Gate Alliance said “This is a bold step for the Liberal opposition in South Australia, and builds on the momentum across the country to protect communities against an unconventional gas invasion.
“This move is in keeping with new and emerging evidence which shows that the environmental and economic risks of unconventional gas are just not worth taking
“Huge credit is due to the Limestone Coast Protection Alliance who have staunchly defended their region, including Sue Westgarth, Merilyn Paxton and Dennis Vyse who have led the way, and to Anne Daw who has been a key agricultural advocate and contributed vital knowledge to the Inquiry and the debate generally across the state” he said.