NSW declares no go zones for CSG. Victorian government should do the same.

February 19, 2013

Friends of the Earth Media release.

In a significant shift in policy, the NSW government has bowed to community pressure and announced the creation of No Go Zones for coal seam gas (CSG) operations for urban areas and ‘industry clusters’ like vineyards. Large sections of the state remain threatened by CSG operations.

“Public concern is becoming an ever stronger driving force in state government approaches to onshore fossil fuel developments” said Friends of the Earth co-ordinator Cam Walker. “And with coal and gas shaping up as an issue in the federal election, Governments ignore this sentiment at their peril”.

“In Victoria, government energy policy is contradictory and verging on being dysfunctional.   When it comes to renewable energy we have a Right of Veto over wind farms and large and arbitrary No Go Zones across substantial sections of the state which block wind development. Yet a coal mine or gas rig can be as close as 100 metres from a residence. In spite of government enthusiasm for new fossil fuel projects, the Baillieu government has announced a moratorium on fracking and ban on the use of dangerous BTEX chemicals. On one hand the government seeks to reassure the community that it is listening to community concerns. But on the other hand, the Energy Minister announces that Victoria is ‘open for business’ when it comes to new fossil fuel projects. New coal allocations remain on the government agenda. It must be clear to the government that its current approach, of having a bet each way, is simply not sustainable”.

“In NSW, the government is already feeling a backlash for its piecemeal response to CSG. People in rural areas are angry that only residential areas will be protected.”

“Ted Baillieu must eventually decide if he will listen to community concern and act decisively to permanently protect farmland from coal and gas operations. He has two easy options: extend the moratorium on fracking and include all exploration activity, or use Section 7 of the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act to create a permanent ban on any new coal and gas mining operations in key areas in Victoria”.

Further comment: Cam Walker 0419 338 047