Prohibit hydraulic fracture stimulation within 2,000 metres of gazetted Public Drinking Water Source Areas, in national parks, the Dampier Peninsula, and other iconic natural heritage areas (to be defined and delineated on maps).
The requirement for proposals involving hydraulic fracture stimulation to be prohibited on places of natural iconic heritage has been completed. The amendment to the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources (Hydraulic Fracturing) Amendment Regulations 2021 were approved by the Executive Council on 21 September 2021, gazetted on 24 September 2021 and commenced 25 September 2021 identifying the Fitzroy River and Camballin Floodplain Iconic Natural Heritage Place where it lies within petroleum titles existing on 26 November 2018, as an iconic natural heritage place where hydraulic fracture stimulation will not be permitted.
This completes Implementation Plan Action 2.
The Western Australian Government thanks all stakeholders for their feedback received during the public consultation period.
Relevant government agencies are currently working systematically through these submissions and examining feedback, and additional places suggested by stakeholders to have iconic natural heritage significance, to determine their suitability for consideration by the State Government.
The target completion date, initially revised to March 2020, has been further extended. This is due to the extension of the submission period and submissions received.
A response to feedback will be published on the Implementation Plan website following due consideration.
On 10 December 2019, the WA Government released the Proposed Iconic Natural Heritage Places – Public Consultation Paper for public comment and feedback with a closing date for submissions of 31 January 2020. The paper details the proposed iconic natural heritage places, within which the petroleum industry would not be permitted to set up well pads or undertake drilling for oil and gas exploration or production, involving hydraulic fracturing.
Due to the State Government’s decision to lift the hydraulic fracturing moratorium on existing petroleum titles (being exploration permits, retention leases and production licences) in force on 26 November 2018 and maintain the moratorium across the rest of the State, the scope of identifying iconic natural heritage places is limited to those located within existing petroleum titles.
Following the policy decision and announcement of November 2018, the Government consulted impacted title holders and native title groups regarding the definition and mapping of the Dampier Peninsula hydraulic fracture stimulation ban boundary. This work has now been completed, and as a result of the consultation process the ban area has been extended to include Broome.
Gazettal of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources (Hydraulic Fracturing) Amendment Regulations 2019 amends the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Resources (Hydraulic Fracturing) Regulations 2017 to prohibit hydraulic fracture stimulation in and within 2,000 metres of gazetted Public Drinking Water Source Areas, in national parks and the Dampier Peninsula.
The work to define, and identify ‘places of iconic natural heritage’ within, and in the vicinity of, onshore petroleum titles existing as of 26 November 2018 is underway.
Once finalised, the proposed list of ‘places of iconic natural heritage’, where hydraulic fracturing will not be permitted, will be released for public comment and feedback via the Implementation Plan website.
Note: The completion date for this action has been revised to enable thorough investigations into potential ‘places of iconic natural heritage’ in the context of hydraulic fracturing and to extend the public comment period.