19 April 2012
Media release. Friends of the Earth
News reports that Federal Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson continues to talk up a vision of an export industry for brown coal shows how out of step he is with community sentiment.
“The previous state ALP government had the common sense to back away from plans for an export coal industry because of concerns about a voter backlash” said Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator Cam Walker.
“But Martin Ferguson just doesn’t get it. There is unprecedented community mobilisation against new coal and gas operations across the state. Mr Ferguson’s federal focus might allow him to ignore local sentiment, but the Victorian Energy Minister Michael O’Brien must be keenly aware of the backlash happening in Coalition held seats in rural Victoria.”
“Already one Liberal MP, Ken Smith, has jumped ship from the Baillieu governments support for new coal and gas. Two local Councils have strongly opposed development of coal and gas. The Victorian Farmers Federation has now called for farmers to have a right of veto over CSG operations, indicating the potential for a significant split with their traditional allies in the Coalition.”
“With a review of State level legislation that governs exploration for coal and coal seam gas currently underway and expected to report soon, the fossil fuel and mining industry is working hard to get further concessions to allow them to fast track the development of coal and gas. This will be electoral poison for any Party that is seen to help facilitate the spread of new fossil fuel operations in Victoria”.
“Mr Ferguson might be spreading the vision of a coal export industry. But it will be the Coalition who pays the electoral cost of such a development at the next state election.”
Further comment: Cam Walker, 0419 338 047