June 27, 2012
Media release. Friends of the Earth. June 27, 2012
Spectacular victory for community in CSG struggle
Councillors from South Gippsland Shire have unanimously supported a motion calling for a moratorium on coal seam gas (CSG) after a spirited community campaign.
South Gippsland joins Bass Coast, Colac/Otway, Port Phillip and Yarra Councils in opposing CSG operations pending a full inquiry into the likely impacts of this industry.
More than 130 community members packed the Council meeting to listen to debate.
Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator Cam Walker said “we congratulate all Councillors, especially Kieran Kennedy, for supporting this initiative. We have no doubt that community sentiment in the coal belt of southern Victoria is deeply concerned about possible impacts of CSG operations. Today’s outcome was a great victory for democracy.”
“Today marks a significant point in the campaign for a moratorium on coal and CSG. So far the community has won every round. We are now seeing a more concerted attempt by state government and pro industry interests to win the debate on the ground in the regions. Efforts by some interest groups to mobilise ‘pro CSG’ farmers at today's meeting failed miserably. We can expect the campaign to get tougher, but there is no doubt that a mobilised, sustained and united community campaign will be able to force the government to adopt the precautionary principle and enact a moratorium and full inquiry into this industry.”
“Victoria has no commercial CSG or Tight Gas industry at present. This is our best chance to fully assess the industry before it gets established. Once operations are up and running it will be too late to have a strategic, state-wide assessment and conversation about whether we want an expansion of the fossil fuel industry in some of our best farmland.”
“In coming months a growing number of local Councils will be debating whether to support the call for a moratorium on coal and/or CSG. Given the state of denial being displayed by state government on this issue, the community will seek to influence debate wherever it can. Local councils are a key forum where this debate is being played out.”
Cam Walker 0419 338 047