The South Australian Liberal Party risks the loss of jobs and damaging investor confidence in the natural gas industry by moving to establish a Parliamentary inquiry into hydraulic fracturing, according to the APPEA.
On Thursday last week Troy Bell, Member for Mount Gambier, announced that an inquiry would be held into hydraulic fracturing practices in the state’s south east.
APPEA’s Chief Operating Officer Western Region, Stedman Ellis, said the inquiry proposed by the Member for Mt Gambier had little basis in science.
Mr Ellis said the South Australian Parliament needed to be wary that it did not provide a megaphone for people who want to undermine the industry and the investment and jobs it provided.
“South Australia has consistently been ranked in international surveys as the most attractive Australian state for oil and gas investment,” Mr Ellis said.
“But this hard-earned reputation will be at risk if groups ideologically opposed to the industry are given a platform to spread fear and misinformation.
“The reality is that numerous investigations and studies here in Australia and overseas have already clearly demonstrated that hydraulic fracturing, when properly regulated, poses minimal risk of environmental harm.
“This is also confirmed by the industry’s strong safety record here in South Australia where more than 700 wells have been ‘fracced’ in the Cooper Basin without any adverse impact.”
Jason Kuchel, Chief Executive of the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy also expressed disappointment with the decision.
“The whole of the business community in South Australia should be alarmed at this development by the Liberal Party, which claims to be pro-business and pro-jobs for South Australians, but is playing into the hands of a minority group of hard core Green activists who have very effectively spun a tale of lies and half-truths to the community regarding drilling for unconventional gas,” Mr Kuchel said.
“The industry has been open and transparent to the community, Government and other stakeholders about the drilling program in the South East and in providing forums for people to raise their concerns and have their questions appropriately addressed.”
Any inquiry will merely bring the same facts to the table which are already available. It would also serve to delay any potential development and jobs growth that South Australia so desperately needs at this point in time, for no meaningful reason.