Letter from Bairnsdale Gasfield Free Co-ordinator published in the Bairnsdale Advertiser (13.10)
It is with deep concern that I write about the announcement on Monday from Hon Matthew Guy, Victorian Liberal Party leader, about their revised policy on gas. Having recently supported legislation in Parliament to permanently ban fracking and support a moratorium on onshore conventional gas mining until 2020, they will now lift the moratorium on onshore conventional gas mining if elected into government next year. This is extremely concerning for a number of reasons.
The Victorian Government is currently undertaking an extensive scientific study investigating the feasibility and prospectivity of onshore gas mining, headed by our lead scientist with industry representatives. With their final report due in 2020, it would be more prudent to continue the moratorium until there is authoritative advice available.
It has been claimed that given what is known about the geology in Victoria, that onshore conventional gas would need to be fracked to be extracted (the above study should provide the answer to this, another reason to wait for the study to be completed).
And although the Liberal Party has said they would support a continued ban on fracking, they have back-flipped on supporting the moratorium on onshore conventional gas extraction, and faced with a probable outcome that onshore conventional gas would need to be fracked, this would be the slippery slide to justify fracking.
The gas shortage is a problem that could be immediately fixed by the Federal Government. They could impose a domestic gas reservation policy that would reserve gas to meet our domestic use and bring down the pricing. Australia is set to soon become the world’s largest exporter of gas so there is plenty of supply, the Federal Liberal Government just needs to put the needs of Australians first.