Geelong residents say ‘no’ to proposed gas import terminal

April 6, 2022
The April 2 protest drew hundreds of residents. Photo: Geelong Renewables Not Gas/Facebook

Hundreds of residents protested Viva Energy’s proposal for a floating gas import terminal in Corio Bay on April 2. The rally was organised by Geelong Renewables Not Gas (GRNG) and coincided with the end of the submission period on the project's environmental impact.

About 400 people marched from town to local Labor MP Richard Marles’ office. No Labor representative has yet spoken out against it.

The march ended at Steampacket Gardens at Eastern Beach where, if the hub was built, there would be a clear view of the 300-metre long, 50-metre high floating storage regasification unit.

GRNG spokesperson Darcy Dunn said Viva’s proposal would put residents, the environment and climate at risk. The campaign wants the Victorian government to push for renewable energy and electrify businesses and households.

As awareness about Viva’s proposal has grown, so too has the rate of sign-ons to GRNG’s petition to Victorian planning minister Richard Wynne.

Garth, a North Shore resident who lives a few hundred metres from the proposed terminal and metres from the shipping lane, spoke about the unresolved safety issues. Isobel, a young campaigner, said she was fearful about more fossil fuels and said she was prepared to build a big opposition campaign.

The City of Greater Greelong Council’s submission to the Inquiry and Advisory Committee on March 21 did not oppose or support Viva Energy’s proposal but encouraged “as many community members as possible to have their say on the [Viva] proposal” and suggested “a proactive grass-roots stakeholder engagement process” be undertaken by the Victorian government.

Sarah Hathway, another GRNG spokesperson, told the rally: “We’re not just against the gas terminal, we’re for renewables and the potential for local jobs that the industry would bring to Geelong. Viva’s gas hub will only generate 70 ongoing jobs — a miniscule number, whereas Ironbark Sustainability’s report late last year showed that 24,000 jobs could be created in five years in the renewables sector.”

She said the Environmental Jobs Alliance Geelong, a group of unionists and climate activists, is working towards a Sustainable Jobs Expo in Geelong over October 21–22.

The Council’s submission outlined safety concerns, given the hub could be a major hazard given its close proximity to residential areas and schools. Other hazards include a greater number of heavy vehicle noise and air pollution.

It said greater greenhouse gas emissions would contradict the city’s goal of net zero emissions by 2035. The marine and land environment would also be impacted by the required dredging and release of chlorinated water into Corio Bay.

[GRNG is encouraging everyone to make submissions to the Victorian government before April 11. Click here for more information on how to do one.]

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