Awaiting permission to cite author – 6 May 2014

To The Commissioner,

My great concenr with hydraulic fracturing or 'fracking' is that long-term issues will not be considered in the race for short-term profits.  Most of the Australian continent barely sustains life as it is - any short-sighted actions which may affect the viability of the groundwater supply will have irreversible devastating long-term effects. Fracking has the potential to do just that - through unintended mechanical effects of the hydraulic fracturing process itself, through groundwater / surface environmental pollution by the chemicals used and through subsequent unintended leakage of toxic hydrocarbon products into groundwater and/or surface. 

It is absolutely essential that an independent comprehensive long-term study be conducted.  This study must be independently funded and conducted.  A proper (with adequate timeframes and ongoing) consulation process must be carried out, involving the Australian public in general and all potentially affected people in particular.

No new fracking wells should be approved until the afore mentioned process is concluded.  If any fracking is allowed after that, then each and every proposed fracking well must be individually subjected to the full social/environmental impact assessment process, each and every time.

There appears to be sufficient information ('evidence'?) available in the public domain to strongly indicate that fracking is not the 'harmless' process some would have the public believe.  From this available information it seems fair to conclude that fracking comes at a significant social and environmental cost to the areas subjected to fracking (reference e.g. areas in the US and the recent fracking-related spill incident in Qld).

As part of the social/environmental impact assessment process not only immendiate but also long-term/ongoing impacts (consequences) must be considered. The companies allowed to conduct fracking must be held responsible through strict regulation and very significant bonds to ensure long-term compliance.