October 19 2011
Media Release – Friends of the Earth
Victorian government sides with mining industry on coal seam gas
As Victoria faces a wave of exploration licenses for both coal and coal seam gas (CSG), there is significant community movement developing against these industries.
“While a growing number of agricultural interest groups have now expressed concerns about the likely impacts of this industry, the Baillieu government appears to be siding with the fossil fuel industry” said Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator, Cam Walker. “The most recent comments by the state government on this issue shows where it stands in the debate between farming communities and the fossil fuel industry: while a government spokesperson said it was “sympathetic” to landowners concerns, it also believed that opposition to mining should not be at the expense of the state's economic interests.”
“Interstate, Liberal and National parties and politicians are standing up against the growth of CSG exploration and mining. Sadly, it appears that the Baillieu Government has decided to align itself with mining interests on this issue.”
“While the Member for Polwarth, Terry Mulder, has said he does not support a call for a moratorium, a growing number of organisations do. Federal MP Darren Cheeseman recently supported the moratorium proposal. Community opposition to a CSG exploration permit in Mr Mulder’s electorate was a key reason the company involved decided to surrender its permit. It is difficult to see what benefit there can be for the state government in being seen to side with the coal and CSG industries over the interests of farming communities, those concerned about groundwater and climate change, and the renewable energy industry, which is facing a double standard when it comes to energy production in the state.”
“The Coalition has closed off large sections of the state to future wind energy development and created a right of veto for householders. This action has put more than $900 million of investment and over 500 direct jobs at risk. These are jobs that would be created in regional Victoria. Yet it is refusing to respond to community concerns about coal and CSG.”
“We call on the government of Ted Baillieu to ban any further coal, CSG or other on-land gas developments until a full assessment has been made of the likely social and environmental impacts of these industries”.
Further comment: Cam Walker 0419 338 047
For details on the employment and investment costs of the Coalition’s wind energy policy, please check here.