The Hon. R.I. LUCAS (Treasurer) (18:11): I move:
That this bill be now read a second time.
I seek leave to have the second reading explanation inserted in Hansard without my reading it.
Prior to the 2018 State election, the community of the South East vocally sought a moratorium on fracture stimulation in their region. The Liberal Party promised that, if elected, it would implement a 10 year moratorium.
After winning the election, the Marshall Liberal Government kept its promise and implemented our moratorium through policy so that it could come into effect as soon as possible, and avoid Labor playing politics with the moratorium in Parliament as they have opposed so many other commitments endorsed by the community at the last election.
What has become abundantly clear is that the community of the South East were fearful that a future Labor Government would remove our policy, undermine the moratorium intent and the space it has created for the resource sector and local community to engage on this very important issue.
We don't want there to be any doubt for the community in the South East that our commitment for a 10-year moratorium is established for the full 10 years. And, we don't want Labor to play politics with the South East communities livelihoods.
The Government has taken its time to carefully and thoroughly consider the Member for Mount Gambier's bill and the implications of legislating the existing moratorium in the South East.
The Government's view is that legislating the moratorium on fracking in the South East will have a limited impact on the on the resources industry, because the moratorium is already in place in policy.
Further, this moratorium will not impede the development of the conventional gas industry in the South East. An industry that has operated safely and alongside agriculture pursuits in the South East for over 100 years.
It is expected that the current work programs of the industry with the community through the CSIRO Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA) to better understand the environmental and social context of the industry will continue.
We have considered the Member for Mount Gambier's bill carefully, and we listened to the community of the South East. We are glad to provide reassurance to the people of the South East that our election commitment will hold.
The Government acknowledges the work undertaken by the Member for Mount Gambier and also the Hon. Mark Parnell in pursuing this issue.
As a former resident of Mount Gambier who still has family in the district I well understand the strong feelings on this issue and am therefore pleased to move this second reading on behalf of the Government.
Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. I.K. Hunter.