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Victoria First State to Ban Fracking


Tuesday, 30th August 2016 at 3:09 pm
Ellie Cooper, Journalist
Victoria is the first state in Australia to introduce legislation to permanently ban the exploration and development of all onshore unconventional gas, including fracking and coal seam gas.

Tuesday, 30th August 2016
at 3:09 pm
Ellie Cooper, Journalist


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Victoria First State to Ban Fracking
Tuesday, 30th August 2016 at 3:09 pm

Victoria is the first state in Australia to introduce legislation to permanently ban the exploration and development of all onshore unconventional gas, including fracking and coal seam gas.

Ban fracking

Victoria is the first state in Australia to introduce legislation to permanently ban the exploration and development of all onshore unconventional gas, including fracking and coal seam gas.

The legislation will be introduced into parliament later this year, which the government said would provide much-needed certainty to regional communities concerned about environmental and health risks.

“Our farmers produce some of the world’s cleanest and freshest food. We won’t put that at risk with fracking,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.

“Victorians have made it clear that they don’t support fracking and that the health and environmental risks involved outweigh any potential benefits.”

Cam Walker, campaigns manager for Friends of the Earth, the organisation which coordinated the anti-fracking campaign, told Pro Bono Australia News it was a “hugely significant” step.

“We’re the first state in Australia to permanently ban fracking and unconventional gas, and we are hoping that this will be the beginning of a domino effect for other states,” Walker said.

Hours after Tuesday’s announcement, Greens Senator Larissa Waters said the party would move for a nation-wide ban on fracking, calling on federal Labor to follow Victoria’s lead.

“The move by the Victorian Government to listen to the science, the community and the Greens and ban fracking is very welcome – and should be followed by Labor governments and oppositions around the country,” Waters said.

“For five years we Greens have had legislation before the federal parliament to let landholders say ‘no’ to coal and coal seam gas and to ban the dangerous process of fracking.

“This week I will re-introduce my bill into the Senate to ban fracking and give landholders the right to refuse coal and coal seam gas.

“I call on federal Labor to adopt the position of their state colleagues in Victoria, NSW, WA, NT and Tasmania and back my bill to ban fracking. With support from the crossbench in the Senate, this bill could present a united front which challenges the government to prioritise farmland, water and clean energy over multinational profits.”

However, the South Australian Labor Government criticised Victoria’s position and told gas companies to come to SA.

Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy Tom Koutsantonis tweeted: “Very disappointed with Victoria’s position to ban unconventional gas. However, that offers large opportunities for SA Oil & Gas explorers.”

Walker said the ban showed the power of grassroots campaigns.

“I think we were quite pivotal, we had three staff employed on this campaign, so we were the cornerstone of the campaign,” he said.

“We developed the gasfield free [community] organising model, we applied it in Victoria, and it was the cornerstone of the opposition, and that in turn helped generate 75 local community groups and that power that was expressed in local communities is really what’s been driving this campaign.”

He said a ban on unconventional gas would benefit both the environment and society.  

“It’s great for the environment because of course unconventional gas is a dirty form of gas because you need to use a lot of energy to release it from the gas seams,” he said.

“Gas can no longer be seen as a transition fuel or a bridging fuel, so it’s not needed in terms of climate change, and having a ban protects Victoria’s image as a clean agricultural producer, and it certainly in the real world protects aquifers that our agriculture relies on.”

The ban is part of the government’s response to the 2015 Parliamentary Inquiry into Onshore Unconventional Gas in Victoria, which received more than 1,600 submissions, mostly opposed to onshore unconventional gas.

“There has been a great deal of community concern and anxiety about onshore unconventional gas – this decision gets the balance right,” Minister for Resources Wade Noonan said.

“We have carefully considered the Parliamentary Inquiry’s key findings and recommendations, consulted widely and made our decision on the best available evidence.”

Exemptions to the ban will remain for other types of activities that are not covered by the current moratorium, such as gas storage, carbon storage research and accessing offshore resources. Exploration and development for offshore gas will also continue.

Until the legislation is passed by parliament, the current moratorium on unconventional onshore gas exploration and development will stay in place.


Ellie Cooper  |  Journalist |  @ProBonoNews

Ellie Cooper is a journalist covering the social sector.

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