Landowners worried about gas exploration

Boyanup landowner Kathy Thomson is concerned about the impact of onshore gas extraction in the South West. Watch her video below supplied by Frack Free WA.
Boyanup landowner Kathy Thomson is concerned about the impact of onshore gas extraction in the South West. Watch her video below supplied by Frack Free WA.

BOYANUP landowner Kathy Thomson fears the value of her property would become worthless if gas companies start drilling in the area.

For the last 20 years, Ms Thomson developed her 100 acres from nothing but a boundary fence and lived in a shed until she could afford to build a home. 

She built up the property to make a living off the land which she planned to use as her superannuation fund.

Ms Thomson is concerned she could lose everything if she does not negotiate land access with mining companies and was taken to court. 

She is also worried if a gas well was setup in a neighbouring property it would make her land worthless and wipe out her super fund.

“The government and law makes it impossible for me to stop gas or mining companies coming onto my property,” she said. 

“I want the government to give the right of veto so we could say no to mining companies.”

Regulations

Leader of the WA Nationals Party and state development minister Terry Redman said his party supported all but two of the recommendations made at the inquiry which looked into onshore and unconventional gas extraction. 

Mr Redman said while his party did not support allowing farmers to have veto over oil and gas tenements or extractions they did support putting farmers onto a more level playing field by having mandatory access arrangements rather than having a voluntary code of practice.

“Right across the state we have strong regulatory processes to regulate this,” he said. 

“Just before the 2013 election, coal extraction and the coal mine on Osmington Road was a very big issue and our regulatory processes in WA were strong enough to shut that down.

“It is something I have confidence in and when I reach a point where I think our regulatory processes are not strong enough to deal with the environmental issues then I will stand up and be counted.”

Gas funding

In the state budget announced in May, $30 million from Royalties for Regions was allocated to fund the Exploration Incentive Scheme.

From 2017 to 2020, $10 million will be given to the EIS each year to encourage investment in the minerals and energy sectors.

The Department of Mines and Petroleum executive director geological survey of WA Rick Rogerson said the scheme had focused on under explored areas in the Goldfields-Esperance, Mid-West, Kimberley and Pilbara.

“It is planned to spend approximately 92 per cent of the EIS funding in these areas in the years to 2020,” he said.

Mr Rogerson said one of the programs of the EIS is the Co-funded Exploration Drilling program which offered capped refunds to exploration drilling in return for supply and public release of all data collected.

“Co-funding will be available for exploration drilling only,” he said.

This excluded resource definition drilling, appraisal, stimulation and development drilling, as stimulation drilling included fracking, then any such proposals for co-funding would be rejected. 

Applications for co-funded drilling were called twice a year and all companies exploring for any commodity in WA, and with access to Western Australian tenements were eligible.

“As a consequence it is not possible to say which companies may apply for co-funding into the future and what might be their chances of success in being offered co-funding,” he said.

Opposition

Greens senator Rachel Siewert said from her past experience people could not trust the information from the department when she heard said things like, ‘do not worry about that it is just exploration.’ 

Ms Siewert said the problem with the way legislation worked is once you had your foot in the door it then became difficult to say, no you could not go ahead.

“Under our legislation once that gets going it is very hard to stop something,” she said.

Video supplied by Frack Free WA.

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