December 8, 2015
Today the committee tabled it's final report in parliament. This long awaited report will be used by the Labor Government to make a decision about the future of onshore and unconventional gas mining in Victoria. The report at no time recommends a lifting of the current moratorium and several additional minority reports recommend the Labor Government support a ban.
Over 70 gasfield free communities across Victoria are calling on the Andrews Government to focus on the recommendation made by Labor MPs Shaun Leane and Harriet Shing, Greens MP Samantha Dunn and Fishers & Shooters MP Daniel Young, who are calling for a permanent ban. In minority reports, they clearly stated that this industry, if allowed to go ahead threatened the agriculture industry, without any guarantees that water, the environment and communities will be protected.
Alison Marchant from Frack Free Moriac said, “Shaun Leane made a passionate statement saying that the Coalition’s support of a highly regulated industry was asking taxpayers to fund and resource an industry that taxpayers don’t want. This makes no sense and is a huge ask of the taxpayer purse. He also advocated that the money would be better spent on renewables that do have community support.”
Cynthia Lyons, a farmer from Western Victoria agreed, "We don’t want this industry regulated, we need certainty and that means a total ban."
In the new year, Energy Minister Lily D'Ambrosio will make a decision about the future of the onshore and unconventional gas industry.
“Communities won’t be satisfied with anything less than a ban. Victorian communities from Western Victoria to Gippsland continue to send a clear message that there is no social licence for the gas industry, ” said Lock the Gate Victorian Coordinator, Ursula Alquier.
“Farmers, rural communities and city folk are calling on the Andrews government to protect the state’s farmland, water and food security, jobs in agriculture and tourism, our health and our environment,” she said.
“The only way to do this, is to put in place a total ban on all forms of unconventional gas mining, as the risks are far too great,” Ursula said.
“If there is no 100% guarantee that fracking will not cause damage to the air, water and soil then the risks are unacceptable. We would like to remind Mr Andrews and his government that we elected them to represent the will of the people. It’s clear that Victorians do not support this invasive industry and we are prepared to do whatever it takes to keep our state to be gasfield free,” said Gippsland dairy farmer Julie Boulton.
“We hope that Premier Andrews shares the same values as us and our right to protect our farmlands, water and the future of farming in Gippsland,” said Mrs Boulton.
“We applaud the fact that MPs such as Shaun Leane, Harriet Shing, Daniel Young and Samantha Dunn have shown leadership on this issue. It is disappointing that party politics came in to play and the Coalition pre-empted the outcome of the inquiry. It is clear this industry has no social licence, is deeply invasive and brings many known risks. The sooner the government implements a total ban, the better for everyone,” said Cam Walker, Friends of the Earth.
For further comment contact: Ursula Alquier 0499 991 324 [email protected] Cam Walker 0419 338 047 [email protected] Alison Marchant 0407 875 123 [email protected]
The state government now has to consider it's response to the inquiry. It is expected to do so within a broader policy on gas, and this is expected by March next year.
Ultimately this is a call that needs to be taken by the Premier. But we need to convince all of Cabinet that the community wants a permanent ban. Many thanks to the many people who have responded to our emails and phone calls asking you to contact your local MP and express your support for a ban.
There are many things to do:
1/ Thank Harriet Shing, Shaun Leane (ALP) and Samantha Dunn (Greens) for their leadership on the issue. Tell them you support a ban and that the community appreciates their leadership.
2/ Tell the Coalition members that you are disappointed that they only support a five year extension and urge them to do more personally by publicly supporting a permanent ban.
3/ tell the Premier you support a permanent ban on ALL onshore gas drilling (the question of 'conventional' gas drilling will be one that the government needs to consider).
Please sign and share our petition.
Or contact him directly:
Final report on uncon gas is out, it's up to you now @DanielAndrewsMP Permanent ban on onshore drilling.
4/ come to our event at Parliament on February 9.
On the first day of parliament, we will be holding a community rally to call for renewables, not fossil fuels. FoE will launch it's three year agenda (a plan for what the ALP should do in the three years remaining of their current term of government) and deliver our petition on that day.
5/ please consider financially supporting our work.
WHAT'S IN THE FINAL REPORT?
The ALP wisely chose an Upper House committee to run the inquiry, meaning that there were MPs from the ALP, Coalition, Greens and Shooters Party. The subsequent inquiry received more submissions than any environment inquiry in Victoria's history, and at the public hearings, the committee heard compelling evidence about the dangers posed by this industry.
But the cross-party MPs remain divided on the issue, and have made no key recommendations.
Instead, the final report included four minority reports from all but one of the voting MPs.
The Coalition MPs called for a five-year ban. Sadly, their report focuses is very party political, focusing more on attacking the government than listening to the community. Basically they recommend extending the moratorium for another 5 years to examine the regulatory systems that exist interstate/overseas to know how to go ahead in Victoria. They seem quite opposed to permanent ban.
Government MPs Shaun Leane and Harriet Shing called for a permanent ban on unconventional gas, as did Greens MP Samantha Dunn.
Samantha said that, based on the evidence received during the inquiry, UCG posed 'an unacceptable threat to Victoria's farmland and communities which cannot be mitigated through regulation.'
The ALP report was great: "The Inquiry was presented with overwhelming evidence that Victoria’s regional communities, particularly those in the Otway and Gippsland Basins, have refused to grant any substantive form of “social licence” that might enable onshore unconventional gas exploration or extraction to take place. It is clear that community opposition to any (further) onshore unconventional industry growth or development in Victoria has grown exponentially over time.
“In fact, the evidence indicated that the actual and/or perceived risks of an unconventional gas exploration or extraction are, for an overwhelming majority of communities in regional Victoria, too great to enable exploration or extraction of onshore unconventional gas in the terms proposed by industry”.
They suggest that the funding and resourcing needed to properly manage an UCG industry would be better spent on developing renewable energy.
A fourth report, provided by Government MP Adem Somyurek, called for a three-year moratorium on fracking, but suggested conventional drilling be permitted for onshore gas resources. He wants the government to support drilling for conventional gas immediately. He suggests it is important to "allow conventional non-fracking gas exploration” along with a reservation policy. He wants conventional gas to be taken out of the moratorium. He even quotes the very discredited Peter Reith! Bear in mind that Mr Somyurek only bothered to show up at one of the public hearings!
There are some media stories here:
The Age and
The Weekly Times.