Gas exploration incentives will 'pit farmer against farmer' says SA Liberal Troy Bell
Summary: Mount Gambier MP Troy Bell says a newly announced gas exploration incentive scheme is a deliberate ploy to introduce fracking to the south-east of South Australia.....
The incentives were announced on Tuesday as part of the South Australian Government's plan to secure the state's energy supplies.
Now, South Australian landowners willing to open their property to gas exploration will receive 10 per cent of the royalties from any profits made by the State Government.
"This policy is going to pit farmer against farmer," Mr Bell said.
"I saw this in the United States. Three generations of neighbours were now arch enemies because one was opposed to fracking and the other was collecting royalties."
Mr Bell said he was not aware of any landowners in the region who would take the incentive, but conceded it would be a tempting offer.
"As a 10 per cent royalty, you've got to remember that most of these gas projects generate hundreds of millions of dollars," he said.
"If you're getting 10 per cent of that, it equates to millions for the farmer."
Incentives a 'lever' to explore south-east
Anti-fracking campaigner Anne Daw believes the new gas exploration incentive has been introduced to bypass public concerns.
"They are going to use this as a lever to come into the south-east," Ms Daw said.
Last year the Natural Resources Committee handed down the findings of its parliamentary inquiry into fracking.
Results indicated the practice should not take place in the south-east region because there was no 'social license' to do so.
Shortly after the parliamentary inquiry findings were handed down, the South Australian Liberal Party announced a 10-year ban on fracking in the south-east if elected at the state election in 2018.
Contrary to Mr Bell's beliefs, South Australia's energy minister Tom Koutsantonis said the incentive had the potential to make the region self-sufficient.
"We want to turn people's feelings around about finding oil and gas on their property," Mr Koutsantonis said.
"This [incentives] will go a long way to helping people make a decision about whether they want to assist our state securing our own energy needs, or would they prefer to keep on importing energy from across the border?
"People used to celebrate the idea that you would find oil and gas on your land but now it's turned into some sort of liability."
Mr Koutsantonis said Mr Bell's comments were unfair.
"We're not attempting to pit neighbour against neighbour, we're trying to help people get a benefit out of what is being derived from their land."