Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has raised high levels of concern in the Dongara community.
That was evident from the attendance of about 80 people at a public meeting in the town’s recreation centre last Friday.
Speakers from the Conservation Council of WA were seemingly preaching to the converted, with few voices in support of the process.
CCWA climate program manager Jamie Hanson told the meeting that landowners have few rights under State legislation.
“If you’re a landowner, you can’t say ‘no’ if a gas fracking company wants to drill on your land,” said Mr Hanson.
“Farms, native title land, national parks are all up for grabs by the big oil multinationals, regardless of the wishes of anyone else.”
Sarah Moles, a landowner from the Darling Downs in Queensland, gave a detailed account of Lock The Gate, a campaign waged by Eastern States landowners.
Urging Mid West landowners to follow their example, Ms Moles said they should be prepared to face arrest if necessary.
A claim from the crowd that Royalties for Regions money had been used for fracking development was denied by Nationals candidate for Moore, Shane Love.
“I have confi rmed that no money from Royalties for Regions has been used for fracking.,” said Mr Love.
“The Exploration Incentive Scheme is spent in exploring for mineralisation and not hydrocarbons. None of it has been used to develop a hydraulic fracture.”
His assurance was accepted by some, but opposition to fracking in the Mid West appears unlikely to cease.
Although the technique was pioneered in the late 1940s, it was not until 1998 that modern technology made it economically viable for the extraction of shale gas.