As you know, after a five year campaign we were on the cusp of stopping unconventional gas drilling in Victoria permanently. The final decision from government was expected in early June. An unexpected Cabinet shuffle threw that timeline out the window.
The new minister for Resources, who will need to make the final decision on whether to make the current moratorium permanent or open the door to onshore gas drilling, is Wade Noonan.
Mr Noonan knows that this is a big decision, with serious implications for our state, and has decided he wants to take his time to fully understand the situation. He is consulting with stakeholders and visiting regional communities. There is no doubt that the community had won the argument over the last few years. But the extra time allows the gas industry to regain lost ground as they attempt to swing the new minister over to their side.
We cannot let this happen.
We have until August to influence the minister. But the next few weeks are vital. We need to make it clear that the vast majority of Victorians will support a permanent ban on ALL onshore gas drilling. A permanent ban will:
- Protect our farmland and ground water from the threat of contamination
- Take away the stress that farming communities feel – some of whom have lived with the threat of drilling for years
- Protect our environment
- Stop a new source of greenhouse gas emissions. Methane, produced in the drilling process, is a powerful contributor to climate change. The time for developing new sources of fossil fuels is long over.
And imagine if Victoria became the first state in the country to enact a permanent ban! It would provide a powerful example for other states.
PLEASE TAKE ACTION
We have about 6 weeks to influence the minister. The next three weeks are vital. He is visiting regional communities next week.
1/ contact the minister
First up, please tell the minister you want a permanent ban on all onshore gas. Yes, you’ve done this before. But the new minister needs to hear this.
The most powerful way to do this is to ring his ministerial office, say you want to leave a message for the minister, then give your name and address and leave a short statement.
I understand that the minister is currently deciding what to do on the question of onshore gas drilling. I support a permanent ban on all onshore gas drilling – both conventional and unconventional. Putting a ban in place is the right thing to do for our economy, farming communities, our environment and our climate. The ALP did the right thing in the 1980s when it banned the nuclear industry in the state. Please do the right thing now and permanently ban onshore gas drilling. Future generations will thank us.
Ministerial office: (03) 8684 0900
The next most powerful thing you can do is email him: Wade.Noonan@parliament.vic.gov.au
A short message is all that’s needed. Eg:
The Hon Wade Noonan
Minister for Resources
I am writing to you to you urge you to enact a full and permanent ban on all onshore gas drilling in the state. I believe that all onshore drilling – conventional and unconventional – poses a threat to our environment, farmland and climate. The ALP banned the nuclear industry in our state in the 1980s. That decision has stood the test of time. A full and permanent ban on all onshore gas will be equally well received by the community.
Or mention him on social media (twitter and facebook are best), with a positive message explaining that you’re looking forward to him announcing a permanent ban on all onshore gas drilling. Tell him communities want certainty. Please use the hashtag #VicGasBan
Possible tweet: Communities want certainty. Its time for a BAN on all onshore gas drilling @wadenoonan @DanielAndrewsMP #VicGasban #gasfieldfreevic
(Or use the 'stats' meme).
2/ write to the papers.
Politicians pay attention to press clippings that mention them. Please write to:
Your local paper
The weekly regional papers (especially The Weekly Times)
The Herald Sun. The Herald Sun can be expected to be pro gas, and hence when they do occasionally report on the issue, they tend to be one sided or pro industry. If we can flood the paper with letters it sends a clear message to the editor that the community does indeed want a ban.
3/ keep the pressure on the premier.
Daniel Andrews is on the public record saying that industry will not proceed until there is ‘broad support’ for it. Please remind him that you support a ban.
Social media is an easy way to do this. Just search for the premier’s name on twitter or facebook.
4/ lobby Cabinet.
Remember the other members of Cabinet. Deputy Premier James Merlino, treasurer Tim Pallas, and regional MPs outside the ‘gas country’ (Jacinta Allen, Jaala Pulford, Maree Edwards, Mary-Ann Thomas) need to understand the depth of community opinion. Please let them know by mentioning them on facebook or twitter or emailing or calling. All details available here.
5/ Ask for a meeting with the minister.
If you’re a member of a rural group, a climate change group, a small business in regional VIC, a service club or CWA branch, a footy or netball club, etc then your group should request a meeting asap. Most groups will not get a meeting but this will demonstrate the level of community concern.
Just send a brief note saying who your group is, what your concerns are, and why you wish to meet the minister to Wade.Noonan@parliament.vic.gov.au asap, with Request for meeting in the subject line.
6/ Make it public.
Some of the visual highlights of this campaign have been the 72 community gasfield free declarations (for instance Meerlieu and surrounding areas), the ‘ute muster’ outside parliament, the Feb 9 rally on the first day of parliament, and the sheep ‘ban gas’ sign.
If you’re a part of a group, please consider doing a stunt or action to demonstrate why you want a ban. Some ideas: a sign on a beach (onshore gas will drive climate change, which will drive sea level rise), a landscape that’s at threat because of climate change (where I live in central VIC we’re already losing old growth trees on Mt Alexander because of sustained drought), or outside an MPs office (for a list of Cabinet members please check here).
7/ Please ask your friends to do the same.
Forward this email, ask them to sign the petition, ask them to write to the papers.
8/ Stay in touch
Check out the Coal and Gas Free VIC facebook page for updates.
9/ support our work.
We have run this entire campaign on a shoe string budget. If you could help us with a tax deductible donation that would help us focus on what we need to do (campaign) rather than worry about fund raising. Thanks.
This is the best chance we will ever get to stop this destructive industry. Please stay with us for the last 6 weeks and help get Victoria over the line.