Friends of the Earth released this statement on November 21.
Friends of the Earth has welcomed today’s announcement by the Premier that the moratorium on the process of unconventional gas fracking will be extended at least until June 2015.
Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator Cam Walker said: “This is a good start. Pushing the moratorium out to 2015 will take some of the heat out of the community concern over new fossil fuel projects.
“But it will not make the government’s problems go away. While gas exploration is allowed to continue, and the prospect of new coal allocations exists, the extension simply gives the community more time to get organised against these threats.”
“The Napthine government’s capitulation to people power on unconventional gas will not diminish the community’s angst over new coal mining operations.
“The next test for the government will be to see whether it drops plans for a further coal allocation. Napthine needs to understand that new coal is every bit as unpopular as new gas operations in regional Victoria.
“We acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of Deputy Premier Peter Ryan in ensuring the moratorium was extended. Mr Ryan has listened carefully to community concerns.
Lock the Gate co-ordinator Ursula Alquier said: “The state government’s extension to the moratorium on fracking will not stop the growing movement against unconventional gas.
“The logical next step for the Premier it to ban any further exploration for unconventional gas and initiate a state inquiry into whether this industry will be safe for land, people and water.
“A public inquiry under an independent Chair would then provide information that would complement the findings of the 12-month community consultation program that will be carried out by Energy and Resources Minister Nicholas Kotsiras.”
“Without this data, we will be flying blind on whether this industry can be safe and compatible with continued agricultural activity in a densely populated state like Victoria” said Ms Alquier.