The Western Australian Government has lifted the hydraulic fracturing moratorium on petroleum titles, which existed as at 26 November 2018, following the 6 September gazettal of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources (Hydraulic Fracturing) Amendment Regulations 2019.
The amendment lifts the moratorium on existing titles and prohibits fraccing within 2km of gazetted public drinking water source areas, in national parks, towns and the Dampier Peninsula.
Fraccing will not be permitted over 98 per cent of Western Australia, including Broome and Kalbarri, and all exploration and production projects will be regulated under the new requirements.
The Western Australian Government’s policy will maintain the ban on fraccing in the South-West, Peel and Perth metro area.
“Companies undertaking future hydraulic fracturing activities will need to refer all exploration and production projects to the Environmental Protection Authority for assessment,” Western Australia’s Mines and Petroleum Minister, Bill Johnston, said.
“A new code of practice will also be developed, prescribing minimum enforceable standards for hydraulic fracturing activities.
“Proponents considering hydraulic fracturing are encouraged to engage with the Environmental Protection Authority and the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety to ensure they understand the new requirements.”
Additionally, traditional owners and farmers will have the right to say no to oil and gas production from fraccing on their land.
The action to lift the moratorium is outlined in the implementation plan for the government’s response to the scientific inquiry into hydraulic fracture stimulation in Western Australia, which was released on 12 July 2019.
The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, and the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety are co-chairing a Senior Officials Steering Group, which developed the plan and is overseeing its implementation.