May 2013 update
Moorabool Council has also joined the call for a moratorium on new coal and gas.
We now have 78 organisations and businesses signed up to the call for a moratorium. Scroll down for the full list.
The state government has announced a moratorium on the process of Fracking. Check here for our response.
We commend the government for beginning to act on community concerns. Only a full moratorium and inquiry will allay community opinion on this issue.
Momentum is building ...
As of early August, we have 58 groups and 1,600 people supporting our call for a moratorium on new coal and gas operations. And 6 local councils have supported the call for a moratorium on CSG.
To TAKE ACTION on this issue, please check here.
Scroll down to see who is supporting the call for a moratorium.
MEDIA RELEASE Thursday 12 April
Rural and urban Alliance calls on State Government to ban new fossil fuel projects
Victorian government wants more coal – the community wants farmland and clean water
As Victoria faces a wave of exploration licences for coal seam gas (CSG), coal, and tight gas, there is growing opposition to this industry. “Community groups have formed across the ‘coal belt’ of southern Victoria, from the Otways to Wonthaggi to Toongabbie” said Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator Cam Walker. “Clearly local farmers and residents do not want to see their lands and water sacrificed for short term fossil fuel development.”
“In Queensland and New South Wales there is a massive community backlash against the CSG industry” said Merryn Redenbach, spokesperson for Quit Coal. “Elsewhere in Australia, governments and individual members of parliament are standing up against the growth of CSG exploration and new coal mining in rural and urban areas. Locally, the Bass Coast Council has called for a ban on mining and gas operations, and Liberal MP Ken Smith has supported this demand”.
Mr Walker said “the only response from the government of Ted Baillieu has been to increase opportunities for further coal development. Just this week it was reported that the Baillieu government is working on a strategy to try to head off community objections to its plans to develop Victoria’s brown coal reserves.”
An alliance of 50 groups has today called on the Victorian government to ban all new on-shore coal and un-conventional gas operations until there has been a thorough investigation into the likely impacts of this industry on:
farmland and food security,
local communities and natural biodiversity, and
Sue Anderson, a dairy farmer from near Bunyip, said “the industry needs to provide guarantees for the integrity of aquifers and surface water before it is allowed to proceed. Blind Freddy could see that mining is detrimental to the production of food. In a competition between food and coal seam gas, food has to win.”
“In the specific case of our area in West Gippsland, any government that approves CSG operations where 15% of Melbourne's food is produced must be both barking mad and broke”.
Community member from Toongabbie, Tracey Anton, said “rural communities, state wide, are forming powerful alliances with environmental organisations against new mining explorations and development. Why? Because in our time of need, they are the only ones there to answer our questions. To prevent the social and economic erosion of our communities, will Government and Industry work with us or against us?"
“The government is pretending there is no problem with new fossil fuel developments in Victoria” said Mr Walker. “Recent revelations that it is considering new coal allocations shows that they are out of step with community sentiment across rural Victoria. It is time they made their position clear: will they support a call for a moratorium?”
For further comment:
Cam Walker, Friends of the Earth 0419 338 047
Groups which have supported this statement
To add your group please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternative Technology Association
Ararat Greenhouse Action Group Inc.
Australian Students Environment Network
Australian Youth Climate Coalition
Baby Boomers for Climate Change Action
Benella Sustainable Future Group
Beyond Zero Emissions
C4 (Communities Combatting Climate Crisis), Healesville
Climate Action Moreland
Climate Action Network Australia (CANA)
Climate and Health Alliance
Community Over Mining (Gippsland)
Dandenong Ranges Renewable Energy Assoc Inc
Darebin Climate Action Now (DCAN)
Emerald for Sustainability (EmFSus)
Foster Community Association
Friends of Bass Valley Bush Inc (landcare)
Friends of Gippsland Bush Inc. (FOGB)
Friends of Pt. Addis
Friends of the Earth Melbourne
Friends of Venus Bay Peninsula Inc
G CAN [Geelong Chemical Action Network Inc]
Gippsland Action Group
Gippsland Environment Group Inc (Bairnsdale)
Global Warming Action Party Australia, East Gippsland
Groundswell Bass Coast
Grow Lightly South Gippsland
Healesville Environment Watch Inc.
Latrobe Valley Sustainability Group
Locals into Victoria’s Environment (LIVE)
Lock The Gate Alliance
MADGE Australia Inc
Melton Community Supported Agriculture
Moonee Valley Climate Action
Moorabool Environment Group
Mt Alexander Sustainability Group (MASG)
Nillumbik Climate Action Now
Permaculture Out West
Riddells Creek Sustainability
Slow Food Melbourne
Surfcoast Energy Group
Sustainable Agriculture & Communities Alliance (Western VIC)
The Wilderness Society
Venus Bay Eco Retreat
Victorian Climate Action Calendar
WATCH Wodonga Albury Towards Climate Health
Western Region Environment Centre
Wodonga Albury Towards Climate Health (WATCH)
WTree Progress & Promotion Association.
Yarra Climate Action Now
Southern Cross Permaculture Institute
Sustainable Population Australia
Doing It Ourselves
Divine Ice Cream
Soup & Salad Bar
The Young Green Coconut
Traditional Turkish Gozleme
The Good Brew Company
Oases Community Learning
New Community Quarterly
East Timor Women Australia
Car Next Door
Honeybee & Blosom
Little Green Spaces
Energy Saving Social Club
DIY Double Glaze
Who supports this moratorium?
More than 1,400 individuals have signed the petition calling for a moratorium. http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-dangerous-coal-seam-gas-mining-in-v...
The following MPs
- Adam Bandt, Federal MP for Melbourne
- Richard Di Natale, Senator for Victoria
- Colleen Hartland, State Upper House MP for Western Metropolitan
- Greg Barber, State Upper House MP for Northern Metropolitan
Local Councils (supporting the moratorium on coal and/or CSG)
- Bass Coast
- Colac/ Otway
- Port Phillip
- South Gippsland
What are people saying about a moratorium & fossil fuel impacts on rural Victoria?
The state opposition supports the call for a moratorium on new coal-seam gas exploration.
Opposition energy spokeswoman Lily D'Ambrosio said there were growing concerns about coal-seam gas projects. ''New evidence has emerged that raises questions about the safety, health and environmental impacts of coal seam gas exploration, and it's important these concerns are fully investigated".
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/labor-call-to-ban-fracking-20120411-1w...
BASS COAST SHIRE
In March 2012, the Bass Coast shire voted to reject exploration for coal and gas within its jurisdiction.
In May 2012, Bass Coast passed a resolution confirming its opposition to coal seam gas exploration and mining
and supporting a state wide moratorium on CSG.
Source (p 40 onwards): http://www.basscoast.vic.gov.au/getmedia/8cb53b95-bd29-4874-83f4-5a87f34...
COLAC OTWAY SHIRE
Colac Otway shire mayor Brian Crook said in 2011 that a ban on exploration was essential until the government improved its “seriously flawed” consultation process and could assess the impact of mining.
“Until we have the process evaluated and there is a 100-per-cent guarantee there will be no impact on aquifers and the community is happy with it, coal-seam gas exploration must stop,” Cr Crook said.
He said the council called for the mining companies to abandon exploration and would push for the support of major political parties in the Colac district’s fight against coal-seam mining.
In 2012, the Council supported the call for a state wide moratorium until there has been a full inquiry.
ENVIRONMENT DEFENDERS OFFICE
The Environment Defenders Office released a major review of the legislation that governs exploration and production of coal and coal seam gas in April 2012. They said: "Victoria’s mining laws fail to protect or respect regional communities, fails to protect key natural resources (like groundwater and prime agricultural land), and treats the environment as an afterthought.
The report calls for a raft of legislative changes, including the establishment of ‘no go’ zones closed to mining to protect sensitive areas, and a moratorium on new coal and unconventional gas projects until the laws have been fixed.
DARREN CHEESEMAN, MP
Federal Corangamite MP Darren Cheeseman, who is a qualified geologist, supports a call to ban Coal seam gas mining.
"There's absolute community outrage. Western Victorian has some very valuable environmental assets and highly productive agricultural land and this industry has been proven to do tremendous damage."
NATIONAL TOXICS NETWORK
In 2011, the National Toxics Network (NTN) released a briefing paper on the chemicals used in the drilling and extraction of coal seam gas (CSG) in Australia. NTN is calling on state and federal Governments to urgently introduce a moratorium on all drilling and fracking chemicals until they have been independently assessed by the federal regulator.
PORT PHILLIP COUNCIL
On May 23, 2012, the Council agreed to write to the Victorian Government to urge them to institute a moratorium on all new coal and on-shore un-conventional gas operations until there has been a thorough investigation into the likely impacts of this industry on water resources, farmland and food security, local communities, biodiversity and greenhouse gas emissions.
KEN SMITH, MP
State MP for Bass (Gippsland) and Liberal party member Ken Smith has supported the call for a ban on exploration for coal and gas within his electorate.
"We've got a farming community down here and the last thing that we need to have now is people exploring the countryside from the shoreline up into the hills looking to dig the place up,"
THE WEEKLY TIMES
From a Weekly Times editorial: “The risks of mining CSG are real; the benefits temporary and the profits go to mining fat-cats”.
A polluted aquifer could end food production in an agricultural region indefinitely - a contaminated aquifer is impossible to decontaminate”.
“The Victorian government needs to show it will not be pushed around by mining giants.
It should declare prime food-producing land off-limits to mining”.
Alex Arbuthnot, from the Victorian Farmers' Federation, says areas of high food production should be protected from CSG mining.
"Food security, following the adoption of a national food plan and
perhaps a Victorian food plan next year ... is going to become a major,
major issue," he told the Victorian inquiry.
"I have flagged to the mining industry here, there could be some no-go zones for food."
The VFF issued a stronger statement after we launched our call for a moratorium:
"Farmers are calling on the Vic Coalition Government to extend wind
farm veto laws to cover coal seam gas projects. The VFF's Gerald Leach
says landholders should have the right to veto mining on their property.
He says farmers are concerned coal seam gas mining could cause
long-term damage to aquifers and their land. Leach says the Vic
Government has given landholders the right to veto in respect to wind
ABC Gippsland (Sale), 08:30 News - 13/04/2012
On June 5, 2012, City of Yarra voted to support the following motion:
“That the City of Yarra call on the Victorian Government to institute a moratorium on all new coal and on-shore un-conventional gas operations until there has been a thorough, independent investigation into the likely impacts of this industry on water resources, farmland and food security, local communities, natural biodiversity and greenhouse emissions.”