Friends of the Earth. Media release.
Liberal MP for Bass, Ken Smith, has become the first MP within the Coalition to break ranks over the government’s relentless push for further development of coal and gas operations.
Last night, Bass Coast Council passed a motion which read:
Council “is totally opposed to new mining of coal, and to gas extraction associated with coal (unconventional gas), within the shire.
To preserve the long term viability, health and benefit to the state, of the Bass Coast’s assets, the Council will ask the Minister to exercise his discretion under the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 to exempt land within the shire from the granting of both coal and unconventional gas exploration or mining licences.”
The MP for Bass Shire, Ken Smith, expressed his support for such a call this morning.
“There is a growing demand across rural Victoria for a moratorium on new coal and gas exploration” said Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator Cam Walker. “So far, the government has ignored the community on this issue. This intervention by Mr Smith changes the debate”.
“We know that many regional MPs are getting pressure from constituents on the issue of coal and gas. Some have expressed sympathy. Some have outright refused to support the call for a moratorium. This does not make community sentiment go away, it makes it stronger and more determined”.
“Any new coal and gas operations will have major – and long term – impacts on rural landscapes. The government ignores the community on this issue at it’s own peril. Mr Smith is to be congratulated for listening to local concerns.”
“Individuals, Councils and local MPs are now being forced to act because of a lack of leadership by Mr Baillieu and the Energy Minister Mr O’Brien. When will common sense prevail? The government must intervene and declare a moratorium on any new coal and gas exploration in the state until a thorough assessment has been made of the likely impacts of this industry”.
Further comment: Cam Walker 0419 338 047