STATEMENT: Gas drilling moratorium is gone, but opposition remains

The temporary ban (moratorium) on onshore ‘conventional’ gas drilling, which has been in place across Victoria since 2014, expires today. This will leave significant areas across Gippsland and South West Victoria exposed to gas exploration.

The ban on unconventional gas drilling and fracking remains in place and is now enshrined in the state’s constitution.

"The decision by the Victorian government to reopen the state to gas companies is bad news for regional communities, for our farmers and for the climate," said Friends of the Earth Campaigns Co-ordinator Cam Walker.

"It is at odds with climate science, and the government’s own commitments to reduce greenhouse emissions to net zero by 2050. It will also do little to help consumers: the government’s own report found that the full development of known gas resources would not reduce wholesale gas prices."

Recently, the world’s leading energy organisation, the International Energy Agency (IEA), said that the exploitation and development of new oil and gas fields must stop this year and no new coal-fired power stations can be built if the world is to stay within safe limits of global heating and meet the goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

Berrys Creek beef farmer and member of Coal and Gasfield Free Mirboo North, Fergus O’Connor, said:

"It is hugely disappointing that onshore conventional gas is now being considered"

"As farmers, we are dealing with a changing climate on a daily basis and must adapt our farming practices accordingly. It is a well-established scientific fact that the burning of fossil fuels contributes to Climate Change and gas IS a fossil fuel. It’s imperative that renewable energy takes over from fossil fuels as soon as possible.”

Jane, a representative of Gasfield Free Glenelg in Portland, said:

"My heart will break a little today, the day our long and hard fought for onshore gas moratorium is lifted"

"I thank the Andrews government for enshrining the ban on Fracking and onshore unconventional gas in the Victorian constitution. I hope it stays forever. But I fear that it won't be enough to keep our Victorian countryside and agricultural sector clean, green and safe." 

"I hope that all farmers know by now the dangers and consequences of opening their farmlands to the gas cartels. We only need to look at QLD to see the havoc that is unleashed. The gas companies main aim is money, at whatever the cost, and will push aside whomever stands in their way.  My message to all Victorian farmers is:

Be aware, be vigilant. And that it is not too late, to LOCK YOUR GATE."

On Wednesday 11 August, Friends of the Earth will launch a new online tool called DrillWatch to help communities track and oppose new gas developments.


Further comment:

Cam Walker, 0419 338 047