• Victorian anti-fracking protesters during a rally against coal seam gas on the steps of the Victorian Parliament in 2016. (AAP)
While a new poll finds the majority of Australians support bans on fracking for coal seam gas, the federal government continues to pressure states to lift them.
Source:
AAP
30 Apr - 11:46 AM 

Most Australians support bans on new unconventional gas exploration but the federal government has told the states to "get off their backsides" and end them.

More than twice as many Australians support moratoriums on fracking (56 per cent) than those who oppose them (20 per cent), according to an Australia Institute survey of 1420 people conducted over a week in March.

That majority in favour of bans on new unconventional gas extractions including hydraulic fracturing (fracking) was evident across all states.

And the opposition crossed party lines, with Labor, Liberal and minor party voters all expressing concern.

But federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan was out again on Sunday morning blaming state policies for a looming gas shortage.

The federal government last week announced export controls to protect domestic gas supplies.

"Hopefully it's a wake-up call to the states and territories to get off their backsides and develop their own resources," he told Sky News on Sunday.

"Where we've ended up demonstrates the folly of a lot of these policies."

He noted his criticism was bipartisan - calling the Victorian Labor government's ban on all gas exploration, even for conventional sources, "absurd" while telling off the NSW coalition government for too many delays in approval processes.

Gas companies have also been quick to blame states hindering new developments for the shortage of supply on the domestic market while they prepare to export record amounts of the fuel.

Australia Institute deputy director Ebony Bennett said industry demands to open more land to fracking were not about reducing energy prices but maximising profits.

"The current gas crisis and high gas prices are not an unintended consequence, but the result of linking Australia to the international gas market," she said.

Labor energy spokesman Mark Butler said when his party was in power, the gas companies promised they would be using new gas for exports not taking it from the domestic market as has actually happened.

"If I had my time again, I would be arguing back then for the national interest test policy (on gas exports) that we have in place now," he told ABC TV.