Fire policy for the 21st century

IMGP8792.JPGAustralia 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.

Read more
Share

Victorian offshore gas announcement expected soon

exploration_zones.png

In 2018, the Andrews Government released five new oil and gas exploration blocks off the Otway and West coast.

The tender process closed in mid February 2019. The government says that it has had 'strong' interest from companies that want to start exploring for gas. 

We expect that an announcement on successful applicants will be made by autumn 2020.

It is essential that make it absolutely clear that the community does not support further fossil fuel development in the state.

 

Read more
Share

Rally against Kalbar mineral sands mine

Stop_Kalbar_June_2019.jpgKalbar Resources, a company that has no mining experience, has proposed a mineral sands and rare earths mine at Glenaladale, near Bairnsdale in East Gippsland.

The Fingerboards mine has not yet been approved by the Victorian Government, but after several years of investigation, Kalbar believes the site is suitable for an open cut mine to extract minerals including zircon, rutile and ilmenite — a titanium mineral, and rare earths.

On Wednesday 19th June, concerned East Gippsland residents will be travelling to Melbourne for a peaceful protest on the steps of Parliament. With the Lindenow Valley vegetable growing area only 500m downwind from a proposed mineral sands mine in Glenaladale (near Bairnsdale), organisers of the event say the time has come to accelerate the level of awareness about this mine. They will be calling on Richard Wynne, the Minister for Planning, to rule out the final approvals for the mine.

Read more
Share

Farming not mining

social_license.pngKalbar Resources, a company that has no mining experience, has proposed a mineral sands and rare earths mine at Glenaladale, near Bairnsdale in East Gippsland.

The Fingerboards mine has not yet been approved by the Victorian Government, but after several years of investigation, Kalbar believes the site is suitable for an open cut mine to extract minerals including zircon, rutile and ilmenite — a titanium mineral, and rare earths.

Kalbar plans to extract about 200 million tonnes of ore from the site over 20 years.

Read more
Share

Coal to hydrogen project reliant on carbon capture pipe dream

CCS_April_2017.pngMedia release. Friends of the Earth. April 12, 2018

National environment group Friends of the Earth has expressed disappointment at the announcement that the Andrews government is proceeding with a trial led by Kawasaki Heavy Industries to convert Victorian brown coal into liquid hydrogen for export.

There are many significant problems with this project:

“Firstly, it is most unlikely it will ever move to commercial phase. This project will only proceed if carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is employed” said Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator Cam Walker.

Read more
Share

Carbon Capture and Storage

CCS_April_2017.pngCarbon capture and storage (CCS) is an unproven, risky and expensive technology. State and federal governments have put huge amounts of public funds into CCS research for years, in the hope it will provide the solution to the greenhouse pollution generated by coal fired power stations.

Here in Victoria, where we have three remaining coal fired power stations, some are hoping these plants can be retrofitted to use CCS technology.

Read more
Share

The campaign against new coal and gas in Victoria. The story so far.

Community_Win.pngA long campaign sees the frack ban enshrined in the constitution

This is a campaign diary of the community led campaign that saw onshore unconventional gas drilling and fracking banned in Victoria.

The campaign ran from 2011 - 2016. All onshore gas drilling in the state was stopped in 2014. In 2017 the ban was announced and in February 2021, legislation was tabled that would see the ban enshrined in the state constitution. It passed the Upper House in March 2021. Our reaction is here.

There remain threats from oil and gas:

  • the moratorium on onshore conventional gas exploration will lift in mid 2021, and
  • the government has released a number of offshore blocks to potential gas drilling.

Please scroll down for a summary of this long campaign.

 

The moratorium is no more

On March 17, 2020, the premier of Victoria, Dan Andrews, announced that his government will introduce legislation to lift the moratorium on onshore conventional gas drilling. If the legislation goes through, the moratorium will be lifted on July 1, 2021.

Our reaction is here.

Our online action is here.

Coverage in Renew Economy, which shows that the decision to lift the moratorium is based on 'inflated' job figures is available here.

And research by The Australia Institute shows the Victorian government underestimated the greenhouse impact of its decision to scrap the moratorium on onshore gas drilling by ‘up to’ 88%.

Legislation passes Upper House

The moratorium put a stop to all onshore gas exploration and drilling since May 2014.

However, on June 16, the Victorian Upper House voted on legislation that will lift the moratorium from June 30, 2021.

Sadly, only four parties opposed lifting the moratorium: Andy Meddick (Animal Justice Party), Clifford Hayes (Sustainable Australia Party), Catherine Cummings (Independent), and The Greens. In the Lower House, only The Greens and independent Ali Cupper voted against it.


The Nationals, Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party, Liberal Democrats, Reason Party, Transport Matters and Shooters, Fishers and Farmers parties all voted with the Labor government to lift the moratorium.

Our full reaction is here.

announcement_2020.png

Victory! But the struggle goes on.

From 2011 until 2017, Friends of the Earth played a key role in the successful campaign to:

  • win a permanent ban on the process of fracking (a dangerous drilling method used to access unconventional forms of gas),
  • win a moratorium on all onshore conventional gas drilling and exploration, and
  • see off a number of plans for new coal mines in Victoria.

Now in 2020, we're working to see a halt to government plans to open up new sections of Victoria to gas drilling.

Stopping new fossil fuel projects.

No_New_Fossil_Fuels_Graphic_square.pngOffshore gas: While many people are aware of plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight, they may not know about the gas fields being opened up offshore in Victoria. We are working to oppose these new operations. A simple thing would be to sign our petition to the premier calling on the government to cancel the development of this gas.

Onshore gas: From 2011 until 2017, the Victorian community, especially regional communities in the south of the state, campaigned hard to win the ban on fracking and the moratorium on onshore conventional gas drilling.

While fracking (unconventional gas drilling) was banned permanently, a moratorium was placed on onshore conventional exploration and drilling. This has been in force since 2014, and will expire on June 30, 2020.

We have until winter 2020 to build a strong voice demanding that the state government acts to protect our state by extending the onshore gas moratorium for another five years.

Please sign the petition to the premier calling on him to extend the moratorium on drilling. You can sign it here.

Please add your voice to the call to extend the moratorium.

You can donate here. Thanks!

Below is a summary of the campaign so far.

 

Read more
Share