Local opposition rises against Future Gas Strategy

May 27, 2024 BY

More than 40 people gathered outside the office of Corio Labor federal member Richard Marles to protest the Future Gas Strategy earlier this month. Photo: SUPPLIED

The Albanese Government’s new Future Gas Strategy has not been warmly received in some parts of the Geelong region, with opposition including a protest outside a federal MP’s office and entirely dismissing the need for a liquid natural gas (LNG) terminal for Geelong.

Launched earlier this month, the strategy charts how Australia will use gas as the economy transitions to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.Environmental groups have criticised the government for continuing to commit to fossil fuels and leaving the door open the door for further gas exploration.

On May 10, more than 40 people gathered outside the office of Corio Labor federal member Richard Marles to protest the Future Gas Strategy and what they described as the lack of action on phasing out coal and gas.

Speakers included First Nations advocate Julie Saylor-Briggs, who spoke of the threat of climate change on the health and wellbeing to natural and human systems; and Wayne Jury, who said the lack of a climate trigger in federal environmental laws gave new fossil fuel projects a green light.

The Otway Coastal Environment Action Network (OCEAN) called for Resources Minister Madeleine King to resign.

“You can’t on the one hand say ‘We will meet our target of 43 per cent reduction by 2030’ while the other hand is orchestrating a massive increase in fossil gas exploration and development,” OCEAN campaigner Mitch Pope said.

“The minister justifies the expansion of gas with offsetting and carbon pollution dumping (CCS), a fraught process. Offset reporting is famously inaccurate while CCS is unproven, dangerous and very expensive.”

The Future Gas Strategy lists Viva’s Geelong site as one of five possible new LNG terminals where gas would arrive after being shipped from Western Australia.

Environment Victoria chief executive officer Jono La Nauze said it was misleading for Labor to argue drilling for more gas in WA could shield Victorians from rising gas prices.

“It is a geological fact that our once plentiful supplies in Bass Strait are running out, and the cost of replacing that supply with gas shipped from interstate or overseas is exorbitant.”

He said importing LNG into Victoria would create nearly two-and-a-half times more emissions than producing methane gas locally, as it involved three extra polluting steps.

“The LNG terminal proposed for Geelong would import far more gas than Victoria actually needs.

“In fact, if Victoria replaced residential gas heaters we wouldn’t have a shortfall at all.”

In a statement, Corangamite Labor federal member Libby Coker said it had always been her position that Australia must phase out fossil fuel use and get to net zero as soon as possible.

“It’s clear we cannot out draw out our reliance on fossil fuels any longer than necessary and no public money should be spent on new gas or coal projects.

“The government’s position is clear – get to net zero by 2050 or sooner, and only use gas to firm renewables as required.”