On June 16, the Victorian Upper House voted on legislation to lift the moratorium on onshore gas development from June 30, 2021.
This is a heartbreaking outcome as the moratorium was the only protection communities and the natural world had from conventional onshore gas drilling.
But the fight is far from over.
Companies will not be able to apply for exploration licences until July 1, 2021. Then there is the approvals process, which takes time. We are likely at least two years away from any serious activity happening.
Community opposition will not go away.
It was the community of Seaspray that forced the Napthine government to enact the moratorium in 2014. This is because they were resolute in the face of attempts to drill for tight gas in their area, and they threatened peaceful protests and even a horse ride up Bourke Street to parliament.
Community members in Gippsland are still reeling from a delayed consultation process which took place just two weeks ago, and two months after the official report from the Victorian Gas Program was released. In Western Victoria the Protect the West Alliance, made up of farming communities, environmental groups, and locals concerned about the disruption of land water and communities recently released this statement in opposition to the lifting of the moratorium.
With all we know about climate science, the prospect of drilling new sources of gas looks like a worse decision than it was back in 2014.
Community resistance will happen when and where companies seek to develop onshore gas reserves. Friends of the Earth will be there to support them.
It's been a year like no other, pandemics and uprisings dominate the news, but River Country is hard at work adapting to keep up the fight for our rivers.
See this year's news on community events, protests, and how we're collaborating with allies to have an impact in 2020.
Your continuing support has enabled the Sustainable Cities collective to keep working towards a more liveable and connected Victoria.
Today, we're launching our initial view of what an economic rescue package should include for the transport sector so as to strengthen the transport sector while protecting people whose livelihoods are being disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whilst the Andrews government continues to frame our economic recovery on the Big Build, we must ensure that these major transport infrastructure projects are ones that will benefit our communities, not destroy them.
Sustainable Cities is working with locals to hold the North East Link Project accountable and calling on the Victorian Government to stop all early works.
Projects like the $16 billion North East Link toll road will lock Melbourne into a future of car dependency and decimate precious parkland.
Friends of the Earth podcast history series made in collaboration with 3CR 855 AM community radio show Acting Up! Monday 2.00pm. Ratbags, peaceniks and agents of change, resistance radio that explores the movements that made us.
45 years of Acting Up! Friends of the Earth the early years audio episode
Listen up mp3
Presenters: Megan Williams and Em Gayfer.
Guests: Richard Nankin, Neil Barrett, Pat Jessen, and Bro Sheffield-Brotherton.
It’s back to the 1970s we go to where it all began to revisit the early years of Friends of the Earth in Australia. Founded by radical activists concerned with ecological and social justice, Friends of the Earth and allied groups mobilised around the issues of Aboriginal land rights, anti-nuclear and uranium mining, whaling, protecting the Antarctic and leaded petrol. In this episode we’re joined by guests involved in the first national Friends of the Earth meeting held on French Island, the Ride Against Uranium, our first petition and database, and lobbying and protesting. Keep reading to discover the wild history of our coordinated campaign wins, and find out how to join Friends of the Earth today.
Friends of the Earths work to survey the habitat of the Strzelecki Koala is ongoing. We anticipate that 200 koala surveys will be completed by the end of July. We still have a long way to go though, to get a better understanding of the range and population size of the Strzelecki/South Gippsland Koala. That is why we want to increase the surveys from 200 to 300 by the end of 2020.
The Strzelecki/South Gippsland koala populations are unique. They are genetically significant, as they are the only koalas in Victoria and South Australia that are not from translocated populations. They consist of animals from the original diverse gene pool. More information can be found here.
Donate here to help us get to 300 surveys of this critical habitat
The coastal waters of south western Victoria are under threat. Plans for rapid gas expansion of oil and gas drilling in the Otway Basin poses a direct threat to marine life and is bad for tourism. The burning of fossil fuels risks pushing us over an fast approaching tipping point of global emissions and irreversible climate change.
Join us on World Oceans Day, Monday 8th June for our #StayInPaddleOut action to say #NoNewGas in the Otway Basin!
Help! I’m a city slicker stuck at home during COVID-19 but I still want to participate in the Virtual Paddle Out event this World Oceans Day on June 8th. Trouble is, I don’t have a kayak or a surfboard! What can I do to support this cause and say #NoNewGas while I #StayInPaddleOut?
The waters of the Otway Basin from Port Campbell to the SA border are under threat from new offshore gas developments. Five parcels of ocean in state waters (within 5.5 kilometres of shore) were offered by the Andrews government in 2018. The Oil and Gas Acreage Release tender process would allow companies to explore for fossil fuels with a view to starting commercial operations. The process has gained ‘strong interest’ from industry, and an announcement on successful tenders is expected some time after June 30.
The extraction and burning of fossil fuels risks marine life and is bad for climate and tourism.
As a result of this threat of offshore fossil fuel production, a Virtual Paddleout will be held on World Oceans Day, Monday June 8.
Community members in South West Victoria have responded to the lifting of the moratorium on onshore gas drilling.
Members of the Protect the West Alliance from the Otways to Portland have collected over 1000 signatures on a petition calling for an extension of a ban on onshore gas exploration.
Premier Dan Andrews made the announcement to scrap the temporary ban on onshore gas drilling in March, one day after declaring a state of emergency in response to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic.
Yesterday, the Petroleum Legislation Amendment Bill was moved in the Victorian parliament to formally lift the ban. The Bill was met with criticism from The Victorian Greens, who noted that the Andrew’s government had significantly underestimated the environmental impact that an expansion of the gas industry would cause, and that the government was better off prioritising support towards growing the renewable energy sector (Renew Economy, 2 June 2020).
Community opposition to drilling remains strong across regional Victoria with over 70 communities declaring themselves 'gasfield free' as part of the campaign that also banned fracking.
Australia suffered through a terrible summer. The 2019–20 bushfires have been described as 'the worst bushfires in our history’. Australia wide, approximately 19.4 million hectares have burnt since 1 July 2019 and at least 33 people dead. It has been estimated that a billion animals died. More than 2,500 homes were destroyed, with more than 300 in Victoria.
In Victoria, more than 1.2 million hectares burnt—making it the largest bushfire since 1939.
The Victorian government is holding an independent investigation into the 2019–20 fire season. It is being led by the Inspector-General for Emergency Management (IGEM), and is looking at Victoria's ‘preparedness for, and response to, the current fire season, as well as review Victoria's recovery effort’.
Submissions have now closed to this process. The IGEM’s 1st report, addressing preparedness for, and response to, the 2019–20 Victorian fire season will be provided to the Victorian Government on 31 July.
We continue to work to see ecologically based fire policy put in place in Victoria.