Communities across Victoria have won a permanent ban on unconventional gas mining and fracking. It is the first state to do so and sets a precedent for other states and territories to follow. On August 30, the Labor state government announced it was banning unconventional gas and extending the moratorium on mining conventional gas until 2020.
unconventional gas mining
South-west Victorian farmers have used sheep to spell out their opposition to unconventional gas mining in the region. Gasfield Free West Victoria organised for 2000 sheep to run into a paddock and spell out “BAN GAS”, as a reminder to the Victorian government that they do not want gas mining on their prime agricultural land. It took two weeks to train the sheep to follow the grain trail that spelled out the message.
Queensland Senator Glenn Lazarus says he hopes a Senate inquiry into unconventional gas mining will restart a push for farmer land rights, which has waned in the months since the death of activist George Bender. Lazarus has dubbed it the “Bender inquiry”, in honour of the farmer whose suicide last October after a 10-year battle with gas companies put the issue on the national agenda. Information on how to make a submission or where to attend a public hearing can be found here.
The Victorian Auditor General released a report on August 19 that warned that well-recognised risks may make unconventional gas mining unsuitable for Victoria because of its dense population, scarce water resources and reliance on agriculture.