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WA Government throws support behind fracking

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Western Australia’s government is throwing its full weight behind the development of fracking techniques in the state to unlock billions of dollars worth of shale gas.

Mining and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion said while he is aware of community concerns about fracking in WA, the state is working in line with world class regulatory standards.

He said building a fracking industry will create a substantial pool of long-term jobs and drive economic activity.

"I strongly believe we can achieve this without compromising the environment or safety," he said.

Commercial production in the region is between five and 10 years away, the West Australian reports.

Marmion hit back at environmental activist groups labelling its tactics to use pseudo-science to argue against fracking as alarmist.

"They need to be honest and up-front about their real objective, it is not about fracking," he said.

"It is to prevent natural gas becoming a major fuel source for the generation of energy as opposed to renewable energy."

It has been estimated WA has up to 280 trillion cubic feet of natural shale gas or about enough to supply the State for about 500 years.

Woodside’s North West Shelf project has reserves of about 17 trillion cubic feet.

The comments come just days after Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane declares he represents CSG.

Speaking at a mining event in Sydney on Thursday, Macfarlane said he finds it ironic that communities which were founded on the mining industry are now ‘hot-beds of resistance’, saying some of the debate around the coal and CSG industries has moved away from science.

Macfarlane said while he had no problem with an old fashioned protest, he would not stand for people who “wilfully tear down fences, destroy vehicles and deliberaltey break the law”.

Macfarlane said the debate around CSG and proposed mining operations should centre around science.

‘‘Yes, it’s got to comply with environmental standards, yes it’s got to protect the water, etcetera, etcetera,  but I think some of the protests go beyond the actual science and almost into the hearsay and what ifs,” he said.

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