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Parliamentary inquiry into unconventional gas fracking

A recently concluded two-year investigation into fracture stimulation found there was no reason to ban its use in South Australia.

Callawonga production facility, Cooper Basin. (Photo 412783)
Callawonga production facility, Cooper Basin. (Photo 412783)

The Department of State Development (DSD) coordinated a state government submission to the Parliament of South Australia Natural Resources Committee inquiry into Unconventional Gas (Fracking) which was initiated in November 2014. Similar inquiries have been conducted by the federal and other state governments (excepting Queensland) and overseas jurisdictions in recent years.

The submission clearly outlined the strength and success of South Australia’s world-class regulatory regime that ensures exploration and production cannot go ahead unless projects meet our state’s high environmental standards. Decades of experience have shown fracture stimulation can be carried out in our oil and gas fields safely and without harm to social, natural or economic environments.

The Natural Resources Committee final report, tabled on 29 November 2016, included five recommendations and 10 findings. No outright ban or moratorium on fracking and unconventional gas development was put forward. This contrasts with some other state-based inquiries which proposed restrictions ranging from banning the use of some fracture stimulation fluids (New South Wales) to banning all conventional and unconventional onshore gas development (Victoria).

Following release of the report, a state government response to the recommendations and findings has been coordinated by DSD and is awaiting Cabinet approval before submission to the Natural Resources Committee.

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