Friends of the Earth media release. May 27, 2015
In an extraordinary move, The Nationals have voted against a Greens Amendment to the Onshore Unconventional Gas Inquiry .
When the Terms of Reference (TOR) were debated in Parliament last night, The Greens suggested a range of amendments to the TOR:
- looking into the benefits of a permanent ban on unconventional gas in Victoria
- looking into the capacity of regulators to manage the industry effectively
- considering the costs of any clean up after a contamination event
The Greens also proposed to extend the dates of the Inquiry by three months.
“The ALP and Vote 1 Local Jobs representative James Purcell supported the amendments,” said Friends of the Earth co-ordinator Cam Walker.
“But in a remarkable move, The Nationals, Liberals, Sex Party, DLP and Shooters and Fishers Party opposed them. This meant the amendments were lost.”
“For any party that to claims to represent rural interests to vote against proposals which would have broadened the scope of the Inquiry is nothing less than a betrayal.”
“While we believe the TOR are broad and will allow the committee to consider the question of whether to recommend a permanent ban, to explicitly vote down this proposal will be disappointing for anyone concerned about this destructive industry” said Mr Walker.
“The Nationals have once again shown their true colours. These amendments were about supporting farmers and rural communities. Why would the Nationals not support looking into the costs of clean ups when it is communities like ours that will otherwise foot the bill?” said Gippsland Dairy farmer Julie Boulton.
Friends of the Earth says the unprecedented gasfield free community mobilisation shows there's no social licence for unconventional gas development in Victoria.
“This industry does not have social licence to operate. More than 60 regional communities across Victoria have already declared themselves gasfield free, with an average of 95% support. Ours is a densely populated state that is heavily reliant on agriculture and food processing. It would be madness to open the gate to this invasive and destructive industry,” warned Walker.
Cam Walker 0419 338 047