Maintain the fracking rage

The farming community should take his advice and 'maintain the rage' on the issue...

SOUTH Australian Greens MLC Mark Parnell's bill tabled in the Legislative Council on June 19, to prevent hydraulic fracturing on farmland, residential and conservation areas, is designed to put the issue squarely in front of the 'honourable' members in the Lower House.

But he knows that they would rather run naked down Adelaide's King William Street than approach the men in suits who believe mining is their right.

Mr Parnell wants a two-year moratorium on fracking.

Most importantly, getting his bill (with or without amendments) on the table of the Legislative Assembly, would be an achievement and could give impetus to a number of MPs, wavering in support of the Roadmap for Unconventional Gas Projects in SA, to make a more informed decision on where they stand.

Mr Parnell, no doubt, is putting his hopes on some Liberals who have expressed concerns about the mess in which Queensland and, to a lesser extent, New South Wales, find themselves.

Lock The Gate Alliance is no longer seen as a fringe group, but rather a strong network of farmers, environmentalists and regional politicians who will not go away.

Mining companies are not exactly running scared, although a handful of industry executives are realising that conciliation might be a better bet in SA to avoid the dramas unfolding in the eastern states.

In the federal sphere, Independent MP Tony Windsor saw his coal seam gas water-trigger bill pass through the House of Assembly, but while strengthening the case against mining on environmental grounds, neither Labor nor the Coalition would support Greens' amendments to give farmers the right to say 'no' to mining developments on their properties – the major hurdle to protecting agriculture.

The mantra of Lock The Gate Alliance is clear: degradation of land and water equals diminishing productivity.

Mr Parnell has no faith in a change of state or federal governments to enact legislation to guarantee sustainable land-use agreements or give farmers the option to refuse mining companies entry to their land, based on the finding of the Independent Expert Scientific Committee.

But the farming community should take his advice and 'maintain the rage' in their efforts to convince politicians this is a fight worth winning.

A matter of opinionA selection of editorials from around the Fairfax Agricultural Media group covering the issues of the week.


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