An attempt to ban the controversial mining practice of fracking in Tasmania was voted down by the state government on Wednesday.
In Parliament, Greens leader Cassy O’Connor called for the ban, saying fracking was not only damaging to the environment, but also to human health.
While Labor backed the move, the government voted not to instate the ban.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involves drilling horizontally into rock and then injecting in fluids to force out oil or gas.
In 2015, the government declared a five-year moratorium on fracking, which will expire in March 2020.
But Ms O’Connor said she wanted to ensure the practice would never take place in Tasmania.
“We believe the majority of Tasmanians would support a permanent ban on this dangerous, natural resource wasting industry,” she said.
“A growing body of evidence points to the devastating environmental impacts of fracking. It uses vast quantities of water, 90 per cent of which never returns to the surface.
“This is exactly the sort of technology we don't want or need in Tasmania.”
Primary Industries Minister Jeremy Rockliff said the government valued the state’s “thriving” agricultural and mining sectors.
“Strong primary industries require sensible and balanced regulation and that’s why we have, as a government, applied a precautionary principle when considering the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing stimulation,” Mr Rockliff said.
“We understand the use of fracking has led to considerable public concerns around the potential negative impacts, particularly within our rural communities and farming activities.”
Opposition primary industries spokesperson Shane Broad said Labor would support the ban and wanted to keep the option open for geothermal energy projects in appropriate locations.
Also in Parliament, debate resumed on the government’s proposed changes to new mining legislation.
Ms O’Connor told Parliament that “protected areas are protected in name only” under the government.
“We have here in Tasmania something rare and extraordinary and it’s something people from all over the world want to come and see,” Ms O’Connor said.
Braddon Liberal MHA Joan Rylah said the legislation was an “attack on red tape” and that today, mining companies needed to protect the environment.