Onshore gas | September 30, 2015

Nationals support moratorium extension

Emma Kealy, Nationals Member for Lowan has welcomed the Liberal-National Coalition’s support for an extension of the onshore gas moratorium until 2020.

“This decision followed findings in a recent Auditor General’s report that Victoria was not as well-placed as it could be to manage a potential unconventional gas industry,” Ms Kealy said.

There was a strong local turnout for a hearing that was held in Hamilton on 23 September 2015 for a Parliamentary Inquiry into Onshore Unconventional Gas.

“I worked hard to call for the Parliamentary inquiry to hold a hearing locally in Hamilton as it was vital to hear directly from people in our region who are most likely to be affected,” Ms Kealy said.

“The Nationals have always said we would not support any industry that risks our land and water resources. The Auditor-General highlighted that the state was not well-equipped to regulate the industry and that lots more work needs to be done to improve the regulatory framework if this potential industry is to ever proceed.

“The decision by the Liberal-Nationals Coalition supports our local communities who are worried that Melbourne Labor will rush out and give the green light to this industry before all of the facts are on the table.

“The Auditor General’s report was vindication of the Coalition’s decision to bring in the moratorium in 2012.

“We should not forget that the last time Labor was in government, it issued 73 coal seam, shale and tight gas exploration licenses and approved 23 fracking operations with no community consultation.

“The Auditor’s report notes that the moratorium and existing secure gas supplies from Bass Strait give Victoria a unique opportunity to take this issue very slowly and further explore the science and the risks.

“It also highlights that we don’t even know if there are commercial reserves of gas onshore in Victoria,” she said.

Extending the moratorium until 2020 would allow time for the regulatory work recommended by the Auditor-General to be carried out and or the findings of the current parliamentary inquiry to be fully assessed.

“We cannot put the health of our natural environment at risk because our Lowan farming economy is critical for our state’s well-being,” Ms Kealy said.

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