Gas claims “cheeky”


Gas claims “cheeky”

A STATE Government spokesperson has labelled claims the government would allow unsafe chemicals to be used in fracking for coal seam gas as “cheeky”.

A spokesperson for Energy and Resources Minister Russell Northe rejected claims by Environmental Justice Australia that a government bill to limit rather than ban BTEX chemicals used in fracking was a sign the government would remove the moratorium on coal seam gas when it expires mid-2015.

Mr Northe’s spokesperson said traces of BTEX chemicals existed naturally in the ground and to ban BTEX chemicals would be impractical to enforce, as some chemicals would present during testing.

“We have set the legislation in place so we can set a maximum level,” the spokesperson said.

“We will be working with the Department of Health and the Environment Protection Authority to set the limit but it will be very, very small.

“The highest limit will probably be that that is in drinking water.”

The spokesperson said the government was yet to establish a position on an onshore gas industry in Victoria.

“We certainly won’t have coal seam gas if it compromises any of our industries such as agriculture and tourism. We will not compromise the liveability of Victoria,” the spokesperson said.

Felicity Millner, Environmental Justice Australia’s director of litigation, said despite the legislation, the government still needed to address other risks posed by fracking.

“It’s just not worth risking our water, soil and air for fracking. The full impacts of unconventional and coal seam gas drilling on our environment are unknown,” she said.

“Right now, Victoria’s mining laws do not protect our communities and our environment. Our laws don’t provide a proper framework for management of risks from unconventional gas and coal seam gas extraction.

“Environmental Justice Australia is calling for the moratorium on fracking to be extended until the laws are changed to give communities a real say about whether fracking occurs on their land and in their communities.”

The Australian Country Alliance recently announced it would not support fracking until there was “indisputable and independent evidence that it is safe, especially for underground water reserves”.

“We believe that any research must be undertaken by fully independent bodies and peer reviewed,” a party spokesperson said.

“This will ensure that Victorian communities could see credible data as the basis for any decisions.”

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association stated a new report from Deloitte Access Economics found delays to onshore gas development in Victoria would cost the state’s farming sector $241 million in output over the next seven years.

The report recommended the government remove its ban on fracking and CSG production.

CEO of the Australian Food and Grocery Council, Gary Dawson, has since warned that failure to act could lead to the closure of food processing plants and this would have a “direct flow-on effect to farmers”.


CSG woes run deep

MORE than 65 people attended an anti-coal seam gas meeting in Korumburra last Wednesday night.

The meeting discussed coal seam gas, the risks, the economic impact on agriculture, tourism and manufacturing, and what the community can do to protect water supplies.

Mark Ogge from the Australia Institute spoke and a show of hands indicated unanimous opposition to coal seam gas mining in the area.

Another meeting will held in Korumburra on Wednesday, September 17 to form a gasfield free community action group in Korumburra.

South Gippsland Shire is covered by several approved exploration licences for coal seam gas, covering such areas as Korumburra, Leongatha, Arawata, Strzelecki, Kardella and Koonwarra.

Lock the Gate Victorian coordinator Ursula Alquier said, “Locals right across Gippsland have the right to know about the huge risks involved in having the coal seam gas industry set-up shop here.

“This industry is invasive, destructive and highly unregulated. Whilst there is a temporary moratorium in place, it is only a short term protection for rural communities threatened by this invasive industry and is likely to be lifted shortly after the state election.”

To find out more, email [email protected]


Consultations ‘failed’

THE community has been left with more questions than answers after the State Government’s public consultation sessions on coal seam gas ended recently.

That is the claim of anti-CSG group Lock the Gate Victoria.

The group claimed sessions were poorly promoted.

“I was disappointed the sessions run in Gippsland were not well promoted and that many locals I spoke to were unaware that these meetings took place,” Inverloch resident Peter Wonfor said.

Lock the Gate Victoria said it advertised the events with the understanding the consultations would be a chance for communities to be heard by the government.

A group spokesperson said this good faith was tested when the consultations were found to be biased and badly run.

“People fell through the cracks because there was no one on the door, no one counting the exact numbers of people who came,” Mirboo North resident Marg Thomas said.

“Some people felt daunted by the process. If the government really wanted to hear community voices, they would have made it more accessible for people to register their concerns.”

The signs on the door announced the “Natural Gas Open Day” and the government website repeatedly mentions the importance of natural gas.

Lock the Gate Victoria said this hid the specific problem of unconventional onshore gas.

“Gas used by Victorians is from conventional offshore gas reserves, mostly in the Bass Strait, not from unconventional gas. This was confusing as government resources refer to gas consumption in this context, which is both misleading and untrue,” Lock the Gate Victorian coordinator Ursula Alquier said.


No CSG here: from left, Robyn Callaghan, Tony Bodsworth and Wendy Davis from CSG Free Poowong helped organise the Korumburra meeting.

No CSG here: from left, Robyn Callaghan, Tony Bodsworth and Wendy Davis from CSG Free Poowong helped organise the Korumburra meeting.


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Posted by on Sep 9 2014. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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