SA’s Natural Resources Committee says there should be no unconventional gas work without a social licence.

The committee spent two years looking into the gas industry and its hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” practices, and finally tabled its report in South Australian State Parliament this week.

It found that the risk to groundwater from the specific process of fracking was low when properly managed, but other processes relating to well design, construction and surface spills, need to be considered.

The committee ruled that no social licence currently exists for the development of an unconventional gas industry in the state's south-east.

“This has been made starkly apparent by widespread opposition from the local community and it is the overarching finding of the inquiry,” presiding member Steph Key said.

“This is not to say unconventional gas exploration and development should never occur in the region, but that in the committee's view, obtaining social licence is a necessary precondition to such development occurring.”

The committee's central recommendations were:

  • No unconventional gas exploration without a social licence
  • Better consideration and management of process associated with unconventional gas exploration
  • A review of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000
  • Consideration in agreements of any potential for disruption to land and local communities
  • A proper unconventional gas development scheme to be set up before any more consideration of potential economic benefits

The full report is accessible here.