There has been significant community opposition to an onshore gas industry in Victoria.

Friends of the Earth up pressure to keep gas moratorium

February 6, 2020 BY

THE moratorium on onshore conventional gas in Victoria expires in four months, but Friends of the Earth is already mobilising for a campaign to extend the ban on the practice.

In 2017, the Andrews government permanently banned the exploration and development of onshore unconventional gas in Victoria, including hydraulic fracturing (also known as fracking) and coal seam gas.

As part of this, a moratorium on onshore conventional gas was put in place until June 30 this year.

There is widespread opposition to unconventional gas in the Geelong region, with several towns declaring themselves gasfield-free and the City of Greater Geelong and the Surf Coast Shire stating they want no part of the industry.

Earlier this month, Friends of the Earth said industry was ramping up its campaign to have the moratorium dropped.

The Victorian Chamber of Commerce does not support fracking but has been arguing for some time for increased gas supplies in Victoria to lower energy prices.

“Has industry forgotten the unprecedented community campaign to protect farmland and water from risky gas drilling?” Friends of the Earth campaign co-ordinator Cam Walker said.

“Developers should respect the fact that Victorians revoked the social licence for gas drilling.”

The environmental group says extending the moratorium will protect Victorian farmland and prevent stranded assets from being built.

“The Andrews government made the right call when it established the moratorium in 2017. We’re urging them to remember the community sentiment and extend the moratorium.

“The last thing Victoria needs is to be lumped with stranded assets from the fossil fuel sector.”

Friends of the Earth spokesperson Leigh Ewbank said Victorians were now seeing intensifying climate impacts, which underscored the need to rule out new fossil fuel development.

“If we’re to avoid dangerous climate impacts, then governments must rule out new fossil fuel projects. And that includes dirty gas.”