10,000 turn out for John Butler-led anti-fracking concerts

Nearly 10,000 people attended the two-sold out Frack Off! Concerts at Margaret River on the weekend, highlighting the massive and growing opposition to unconventional gas across Western Australia.

The events came as the Chamber for Minerals and Energy once again called on the West Australian public to support ‘facts’ and not ‘myths’ relating to the mining sector.

The Frack Off! concerts  included performances from John Butler Trio, Mama Kin, Pigram Brothers and Ten Cent Shooters, and included speakers from the three regions the organisers argue threatened by unconventional gas – the Peel and South West regions, the Mid West and the Kimberley.

Organiser of the event John Butler said the people of WA had sent a loud and clear message to the State Government and the gas mining industry over the weekend.

“We don’t want fracking and unconventional gas mining in Western Australia,” Mr Butler said.

“Now it’s time for political parties and their leaders to listen and respond. If they won’t stand up and stop this risky industry, then the community is making it pretty clear that they will do it themselves.”

Lock the Gate Alliance spokesperson Jane Hammond said  it was extraordinary to see the extent of support in the community for farmers and Traditional Owners who are facing off against gas mining giants right across the state, with Mandurah and Pinjarra residents also taking part in the event.

“The nearly 10,000 people who turned out this weekend are determined to protect the precious natural and cultural values of the Kimberley, the rich farmlands of the mid-west and Swan and Chittering Valleys, and the unique natural beauty and thriving tourism industry in the South West and Peel regions,” Ms Hammond said.

“Everyone who attended the concert was conscious of just how important water is to their survival, and they are not going to compromise on the future of our water supplies, and are demanding the same commitment from our political leaders.”

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy (CME) has responded to the upswell of support for the anti-fracking movement, stating there is not any plans to frack in the South West.

“Fracking is a process to extract gas; it’s a process that’s not currently being used in the South West region nor planned to be,” CME natural resources manager Kane Moyle said.

“Exploration is positive and needed.  Without ongoing exploration, resources of all kinds would remain undiscovered with lost potential for economic growth. 

“Onshore gas exploration is in its infancy in the South West and any commercially viable project is some years away.”

Mr Moyle said Western Australia is one of the most regulated jurisdictions in the world and one of the highest performing.

Applications for projects are regulated by the Department of Mines and Petroleum, along with the Environmental Protection Authority, Department of Environment Regulation, Department of Parks and Wildlife and Department of Water. 

“The regulatory framework that assesses new projects is comprehensive and robust. There is significant evidence to suggest current and emerging environmental issues and projects can be well managed through the existing regulatory framework,” Mr Moyle said.

“We need to trust the process and ignore the hype that has the potential to damage the existing industries which play a significant role in supporting the South West communities.

“The resources sector is important not only to the State but also to the South West.

“More than 6500 people are directly employed by resources sector operations in the South West and more than 520 local businesses are supported by these operations.

“Let’s make sure that what is being said is based on fact, not myth.”