WA Government blocks MP briefing on economic research critical of fracking

Fracking in Western Australia would bring few jobs, little revenue and could increase gasprices, according to a new report by Canberra-based think-tank The Australia Institute.

The report comes after WA Premier Mark McGowan announced on Tuesday that the statewould open up roughly five million hectares of the state to fracking.

The report authors were to brief government MPs in Parliament House on Thursday, but the briefing was cancelled late Wednesday after they had arrived in Perth.

“The WA government made no consideration of the social and economic impacts offracking, even though it has been very disruptive in the eastern states,” said Rod Campbell, Research Director at The Australia Institute.

“It’s surprising that the Government would cancel our briefing, particularly at such late notice.

“Our research shows that fracking does not bring jobs. The gas industry employs less peopleper dollar of output than any other industry. If employment growth is the policy goal, then investment in virtually any other industry is will deliver better results.

“In Queensland, there was a loss of 1.8 agricultural jobs for every new gas job created inrural areas. Gas jobs come at the cost of displacement of jobs in other industries.

“Indigenous job opportunities from fracking are also likely to be minimal, with an estimatedincrease of between three and 19 jobs for Indigenous people.

“Fracking is likely to generate little revenue for the state. Even a relatively large shale gasindustry would be likely to generate revenue worth just 0.6 percent of WA stategovernment revenue, roughly the value of traffic fines to the WA budget.

“Relative to conventional gas, shale gas is high cost to extract. Gas companies on the East Coast have mastered exporting cheap gas and selling expensive gas to locals who have noother choice.”

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