Residents opposition to Viva gas import terminal continues

September 29, 2022
Handing over a petition to Victorian parliament on September 21. Photo: Geelong Renewables Not Gas

The Geelong Renewables Not Gas campaign against multinational Viva Energy's proposed gas import terminal in Corio Bay is gathering momentum.

Western Victorian Member of the Legislative Council Andy Meddick presented a petition to parliament with more than 4000 signatures on September 21.

Viva Energy wants to construct a floating gas terminal in Corio Bay in Victoria. The Floating Storage Regasification Unit would import up to 160 petajoules of gas a year and operate until 2040.

The campaign mobilised community members, experts and supporting organisations from June to August to present their views to a government hearing on Viva Energy’s environmental effects statement.

More than 2000 made submissions to the Independent Advisory Committee, of which 99.9% opposed Viva Energy’s proposal.

The campaign has previously collected more than 4000 signatures opposing the gas terminal, sent to former Planning Minister Richard Wynne. Hundreds of Geelong residents have also taken to the streets to show their opposition.

This pressure has even prompted the conservative City of Greater Geelong Council to make a submission to the hearing. It acknowledged and echoed the concerns raised by residents.

The committee’s report is now with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. Campaigners believe Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio will make a decision in late November or early December — before or after the state election.

The Geelong Renewables Not Gas campaign, run by Australian Conservation Foundation Community Geelong, is gearing up for a high volume email and letter writing campaign targeting Geelong MPs.

It is also requesting meetings with other politicians to ensure the concerns of residents are heard and reported to the Environment Minister. A community rally is being organised on November 5.

Volunteer Sarah Hathway, who  is also standing for the Socialist Alliance in Lara, told Green Left the two-year anti-gas terminal campaign continued throughout the pandemic and multiple lockdowns.

“It’s been a remarkable effort. We’ve used a range of tactics including rallies, street stalls, informal and formal petitions, lobbying MPs, letter writing and snap actions to get this far.”

Hathway said that residents in Norlane and North Shore, who are on the frontline, “have done everything they can to have their voices heard” and that “it would be an absolute travesty of democracy if the government was to approve the project”.

She also said the climate crisis demanded the government not approve Viva Energy’s gas proposal and that its focus should be on creating clean energy jobs.

[Residents have until September 30 to make a submission to the Victorian government.]

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