Poll shows most oppose fracking

Opponents of the controversial gas exploration technique hydraulic fracturing outnumber supporters almost two-to-one in WA, according to internal State Government polling.

In results that suggest the practice known as “fracking” is widely viewed with disapproval or scepticism, the research found that 36 pent of respondents objected to it.

In comparison, just 22 per cent of those interviewed backed the technology, which involves injecting water, sand and chemicals deep underground at high pressure to release gas.

What's more, only 7 per cent of respondents strongly supported fracking, compared with 26 per cent who strongly objected to it.

The results were contained in polling conducted by East Perth-based consultancy Research Solutions, which carried out the work on behalf of the Department of Mines and Petroleum.

The weighted sample for the question was 237 respondents.

It comes at a delicate time for the Government amid increasing activity by onshore gas companies, which use fracking to unlock unconventional gas resources.

Last week Environment Minister Albert Jacob upset green groups when he overruled their concerns and approved a fracking proposal by Buru Energy in the Kimberley.

Buru wants to explore for tight gas in the Canning Basin, which is thought to hold some of the world's biggest onshore gas reserves and shapes as a key battleground in the fight over fracking.

A separate question posed by Research Solutions found opposition to fracking in the Canning Basin was even stronger than the State average.

The department's deputy director general Michelle Andrews said the main finding of the research was that the community was not properly informed about fracking or the industry.

She said the department was reforming its petroleum regulations to “provide more robust and transparent” oversight of the sector.

Conservation Council of WA director Piers Verstegen said the survey showed the public did not support fracking and its proponents did not have a social licence to operate here.

“As well as overwhelming opposition to the industry, the research reveals a crisis of confidence in the government's ability to manage the environmental and health impacts that inevitably follow gas fracking,” Mr Verstegen said.

The West Australian

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