Landholders from across the South West will rally outside the Regional Cabinet’s public meeting in Bunbury next Sunday to send a message to WA Premier Mark McGowan that they want to remain gasfield free.
The rally and march on Sunday at 2pm in Bunbury is in response to the granting of a new gas exploration permit covering the Shires of Capel, Dardanup, Donnybrook-Balingup and parts of the Cities of Busselton and Bunbury.
The event is organised by the Gasfield Free South West Alliance and co-convenor Kathy Thomson said the local communities want the state government to know that gasfields are not wanted in the South West.
“We have three communities covered by this licence who have already declared themselves gasfield free,” Ms Thomson said.
“The government is not listening to the will of the people and clearly has not heard the calls that gasfield are not wanted here.”
A spokesperson for Lock the Gate in WA Jane Hammond said and the South West had been recognised by the government for its valuable agricultural and tourism industries with the provision of fracking bans covering the area.
“The government has just granted another gas exploration licence over the region and are yet to even put the fracking bans into an act of parliament,” Ms Hammond said.
“A report released just this week showed that the economic values of unconventional gas mining in the Northern Territory would be negligible compared to the threats to water, health and other industries.
“We think the same can be said of the South West. The region’s existing industries and precious water resources should not be put at risk for the questionable economic gains of a short-term and risky gas industry.”
The peaceful protest will start at the Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre carpark at 2pm with participants encouraged to wear yellow and black.
Last week, the Mail reported that the state government had awarded gas exploration permit EP496 to Bunbury Energy which will allow them to to explore for conventional gas in the region.
Department of Mines and Petroleum industry regulation and safety executive director Jeff Haworth said the title had a condition on it which prohibits the use of fracking in the program.
“Bunbury Energy has publicly announced it is not looking for shale or tight gas,” Mr Haworth said.