Tasmania: Fracking banned for five years by government

Anti-fracking rally goes ahead in Hobart despite State Government’s five-year ban by ABC News, February 28, 2015

About 200 people have gathered in Hobart calling for a permanent ban on fracking despite the State Government’s decision to ban the controversial practice for another five years.

In March last year, the Government declared a 12-month moratorium on the controversial mining practice known as fracking.

Earlier this week they extended the ban until at least 2020. A total of 155 submissions had been received on the issue, the majority opposed to fracking in Tasmania.

Those at today’s rally believe a permanent ban is required to provide certainty for investors across a range of industries including agriculture and tourism.

Fracking banned for five years by Tasmanian Government by Stephen Smiley, February 26, 2015, ABC News
The Tasmanian Government will ban the controversial mining practice known as fracking for another five years. ….the practice has sparked controversy in New South Wales and Queensland.

Primary Industries Minister Jeremy Rockliff, who declared a one-year fracking moratorium in March 2014, considered 155 submissions on the subject. In a statement, Mr Rockliff said there was uncertainty around fracking, and his decision would “protect Tasmania’s reputation for producing fresh, premium and safe produce”.

“There is considerable concern around the potential negative impacts of fracking, particularly within our rural communities and farming families who rely so heavily on our global reputation for producing premium and safe products,” he said.

“It is also clear that there is considerable concern for landowners’ rights and public and environmental health.

“After consideration, advice and consultation, it is prudent that we introduce a five-year moratorium on fracking in Tasmania.”

Mr Rockliff will today declare a five-year extension to the moratorium on fracking to allow a full government review of its implications.

Exploration is currently being carried out in a wide area of the Southern Midlands in Tasmania to see if it is viable to extract shale oil gas. Resources Minister Paul Harriss said in a statement the decision did not mean the Government had banned exploration for resources like shale gas or petroleum, without the use of fracking. “Exploration will allow us to better understand whether Tasmania has an economically viable resource and its potential impacts,” he said. “This allows mining and energy exploration to continue while the state’s economic prospects for energy, and our understanding of the economic viability of the resource, may change over time.” A review into the practice of fracking will be conducted before the moratorium expires in March 2020.

Industry groups, including the Farmers and Graziers’ Association, Dairy Australia and Wine Tasmania all urged the Government to extended its moratorium.

In a statement, Farmers and Graziers’ Association’s Director Greg Bradfield welcomed the decision.

“Five years is very sensible,” Mr Bradfield said.

“The review should not only examine the science of fracking, the legacy issues of fracking but also the legal consequences of mining on private Land.” [Emphasis added]

Tasmania re-considering fracking moratorium by James Perkins, February 23, 2015, Shale Energy Insider
Tasmania’s one year fracking ban is set to expire in the next few weeks, as the regional government decides whether to renew its moratorium or allow exploration to begin. … The ban, which was introduced in 2014, will expire at the end of March this year. At present, the government has received over 150 submissions as it reviews the status of the moratorium. It has been estimated by anti-fracking group Frack Free Tasmania that 90% of the submissions have been from those who oppose fracking in the state.

Primary Industries Minister Jeremy Rockliff said after meeting with concerned farmers who are pressing for a permanent ban: “each and everyone one of those [submissions] will be considered appropriately, in informing future policy on fracking. “That review, however, is ongoing and an announcement will be made next month before the current moratorium expires.”

Frack Free Tasmania says that around a quarter of Tasmania’s landmass is currently covered by exploration licenses. [Emphasis added]

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