FRACK OFF: Independent consultant Tom Crothers met with growers from the region yesterday to release a report commissioned by Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers on the risks of fracking and gas mining in the coastal Wide Bay Burnett region.
FRACK OFF: Independent consultant Tom Crothers met with growers from the region yesterday to release a report commissioned by Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers on the risks of fracking and gas mining in the coastal Wide Bay Burnett region. Mike Knott BUN310818CROTHERS1

REVEALED: Fracking could ruin our 'green, clean' reputation

AN EXPANSION of the fracking industry to Wide Bay's coast could have serious implications for the region's reputation as a clean and green expanse.

A seven-week analysis by Stellar Advisory Services, delivered in a report yesterday, argued the establishment of an unconventional gas industry on the region's surface and groundwater resources had the potential to be catastrophic for farmers.

Independent consultant Tom Crothers told the NewsMail if oil and gas giant Blue Energy extended their three exploration licences in the Maryborough Geological Basin, which are set to expire in December and March, the Wide Bay Burnett's future in the agricultural produce sector would be uncertain.

"The ideal thing is that this region is clean and green and that it has that reputation now,” Mr Crothers said.

"One would want to maintain that, seeing as the region supplies produce on the national market and agricultural produce on the international market.

Tom Crothers met with growers from the region to release a report on the risks posed to water resources and intensive agriculture from fracking and gas mining.
Tom Crothers met with growers from the region to release a report on the risks posed to water resources and intensive agriculture from fracking and gas mining. Mike Knott BUN310818CROTHERS3

"To protect our agriculture and supply of fruit and veg to the eastern seaboard, we need to extinguish (the licences) and make sure there are no gas industries in this region.”

Mr Crothers said because fracking and gas mining required a large quantity of water, the practice could have serious implications on the use of groundwater by agriculture in the region.

One of the potentially major impacts - seawater intrusion - poses a risk to the Wide Bay Burnett's water quality in aquifers, rivers and estuaries and the region's floodplain and wetland ecosystems.

"There's the potential for leakage of gas wells from contamination of fracking fluids as well ... and soil and water contamination from leakage of fracking fluids,” Mr Crothers said.

"If we get leakages there's the potential damage to the Great Barrier Reef, Fraser Island and the Great Sandy Strait Marine Park as well.

"If Blue Energy was to develop shale gas wells as a result of those authorities (exploration licences), there would be potentially significant impacts the the region's water.

"That will have a huge effect on farmers and the chances for growth of the agricultural industry.”

The report was commissioned by the Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers in July, in anticipation of two of Blue Energy's three permits in Maryborough being up for renewal in December.

The oil and gas company owns 100 per cent of the Marybourough Basin (which covers 3000sq km of Wide Bay including Bundy and Childers), which its 2017 financial report flagged as a "significantly under explored frontier”.

In its, report Stella Advisory referred to the US's fracking history and the region's susceptibility to earthquakes, stating that the "reinjection of fracking wastewater will increase the risk of seismic activity in earthquake susceptible areas”.



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