Vic considers extending moratorium

A VICTORIAN parliamentary inquiry into onshore CSG is considering a Victorian Farmers Federation call to extend the moratorium on unconventional gas development for another five years.

Vic considers extending moratorium

The Environment and Planning Committee, which released its Interim Report yesterday ahead of further hearings to be conducted in Melbourne and regional Victoria, said there were differing views even on the prospectivity of commercial sources of unconventional gas in the state.

"The committee notes the concerns of the Victorian Farmers Federation and will reflect on the VFF's calls for the moratorium on unconventional gas development to be extended, and for landholders to be given the right to veto unconventional gas activity on their land," the report stated.

The committee will look to Queensland, New South Wales and elsewhere as to industry's impact on agriculture and rural communities, evidence of co-existence which industry said was in abundance, health impacts, the question of "reputational risk" for the likes of the dairy industry, and other jurisdictions' regulatory frameworks.

The Victorian Farmers Federation submission said scientific information on the risks posed by unconventional gas activities to the Victorian environment was lacking, and that "there are no guarantees from the Victorian government or the gas industry that these risks can be managed".

Concern was expressed to the committee that compensation paid by companies to landholders would not be adequate to address environmental damage such as the potential contamination and loss of water resources.

There was also concern that unconventional gas activity may reduce the value of properties, and apprehension over the rehabilitation of land once the industry has gone.

The Australian Dairy Industry Council also warned that any possibility that unconventional gas extraction could impact either the critical water resources or the industry's reputation for "high-quality, safe dairy products", whether it is actual impact or the perception of customers about impact, will need to be carefully managed to ensure all risks are addressed.

It called for "very robust legislative frameworks and limiting expansion of mining into new areas".

The reported noted that the unconventional gas industry submissions said agriculture and unconventional gas production can successfully co-exist, with the land being used for multiple functions, when industry best-practice standards are adhered to.

The committee will call Minister for Energy and Resources Lily D'Ambrosio to give evidence.

"The committee is awaiting additional administrative support to deal with the large workload and the scientific and hydrogeological detail of many of the submissions," the report stated.

"Recently, a commitment was made to provide scientific support and the committee is seeking to employ appropriate scientists."

The report added that the committee had received what could quite possibly be the most submissions in Victoria's history.

The committee is chaired by Victorian planning and local government minister David Davis, a former Shadow Minister for Health, along with holding shadow ministerial responsibility for planning, manufacturing and exports, small business, industry and state development, major projects and environment and climate change.


A growing series of reports, each focused on a key discussion point for the energy sector, brought to you by the Energy News Bulletin Intelligence team.

A growing series of reports, each focused on a key discussion point for the energy sector, brought to you by the Energy News Bulletin Intelligence team.


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