Communities applaud Premier Andrews decision to ban unconventional gas mining and fracking

Ban_Aug_2016.jpgCommunities across Victoria are applauding the Andrews government for putting in place a total ban on unconventional gas mining—the first jurisdiction in Australia to do so.  This is a decision that will protect the state’s water, land, air and environment for generations to come.

The Andrews government’s announcement also extends the current moratorium on all onshore conventional gas mining until at least mid 2020.

“This decision is such a relief for our community and so many like it. The threat of unconventional onshore gas mining has been hanging over our heads for years. It has been so heart wrenching at times, when we thought the drill rigs were coming and there was nothing we could do but we pulled together as a community and decided to fight this threat to our farmland, water and health and today’s decision is just fantastic, we are ecstatic,” said Seaspray dairy farmer, Julie Boulton.

“I’d like to thank Premier Daniel Andrews for standing beside rural communities and doing what the previous governments would not do and that’s protect us from this destructive, invasive industry” said Ms Boulton.

Over the last five years the rapidly growing ‘lock the gate’ movement--driven by rural communities across the state and supported by thousands of Victorians--have finally had their voices heard.

Until today over 1.4 million hectares of Victoria was threatened by some form of onshore gas mining, which included coal seam gas, tight gas, shale gas and underground coal gasification. All these forms of unconventional gas will be banned whilst onshore conventional gas will continue to have a blanket moratorium in place until at least 2020.

“Victoria has become the first state in Australia to put in place a total ban” said Cam Walker, campaigns co-ordinator for Friends of the Earth.

“The ALP banned the nuclear industry in the 1980s. That decision has stood the test of time. The decision to ban the destructive unconventional gas industry will also be seen as the right move by generations to come.”

“Labor has shown real leadership by listening to community concerns. The Andrews government has shown us today that they are unwilling to risk Victoria’s strong agriculture and tourism economy” said Lock the Gate Victorian Coordinator Ursula Alquier.

“This is good news for every Victorian, but for the farming communities that have been fighting to stop this industry for over 5 years now, this is a wonderful day, this decision gives them certainty to move forward, this decision protects Victoria’s vital ‘clean and green’ image” said Chloe Aldenhoven, Co-ordinator for Lock the Gate.

“The Andrews government understands that gas mining companies cannot guarantee the safety of our underground water supplies, our land or our environment. These are not things we have ever been willing to gamble with and today we can say for the first time that Victoria is protected, our water, our farmland, the health of our rural communities is protected” said community campaigner Alison Marchant..

For further comment contact:

Cam Walker - Friends of the Earth 0419 338 047                                                             

Ursula Alquier - Friends of the Earth/ Lock the Gate Coordinator Gippsland 0474 803 740                                                                         

Chloe Aldenhoven - Friends of the Earth/ Lock the Gate Coordinator Western Victoria 0432 328 107             

Alison Marchant - Friends of the Earth Community Campaigner Western Victoria 0407 875 123