Rural and urban Alliance calls on State Government to ban new fossil fuel projects
Victorian government wants more coal - the community wants farmland and clean water
As Victoria faces a wave of exploration licences for coal seam gas (CSG), coal, and tight gas, there is growing opposition to this industry. "Community groups have formed across the ‘coal belt' of southern Victoria, from the Otways to Wonthaggi to Toongabbie" said Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator Cam Walker. "Clearly local farmers and residents do not want to see their lands and water sacrificed for short term fossil fuel development."
"In Queensland and New South Wales there is a massive community backlash against the CSG industry" said Merryn Redenbach, spokesperson for Quit Coal. "Elsewhere in Australia, governments and individual members of parliament are standing up against the growth of CSG exploration and new coal mining in rural and urban areas. Locally, the Bass Coast Council has called for a ban on mining and gas operations, and Liberal MP Ken Smith has supported this demand".
Mr Walker said "the only response from the government of Ted Baillieu has been to increase opportunities for further coal development. Just this week it was reported that the Baillieu government is working on a strategy to try to head off community objections to its plans to develop Victoria's brown coal reserves."
An alliance of 36 groups has today called on the Victorian government to ban all new on-shore coal and un-conventional gas operations until there has been a thorough investigation into the likely impacts of this industry on:
- water resources,
- farmland and food security,
- local communities and natural biodiversity, and
- greenhouse emissions.
Sue Anderson, a dairy farmer from near Bunyip, said "the industry needs to provide guarantees for the integrity of aquifers and surface water before it is allowed to proceed. Blind Freddy could see that mining is detrimental to the production of food. In a competition between food and coal seam gas, food has to win."
"In the specific case of our area in West Gippsland, any government that approves CSG operations where 15% of Melbourne's food is produced must be both barking mad and broke".
Community member from Toongabbie, Tracey Anton, said "rural communities, state wide, are forming powerful alliances with environmental organisations against new mining explorations and development. Why? Because in our time of need, they are the only ones there to answer our questions. To prevent the social and economic erosion of our communities, will Government and Industry work with us or against us?"
"The government is pretending there is no problem with new fossil fuel developments in Victoria" said Mr Walker. "Recent revelations that it is considering new coal allocations shows that they are out of step with community sentiment across rural Victoria. It is time they made their position clear: will they support a call for a moratorium?"
Groups which have supported this statement
- Ararat Greenhouse Action Group Inc
- Australian Youth Climate Coalition
- Benalla Sustainable Future Group
- Beyond Zero Emissions
- Brimbank Climate Action Network (BrimbankCAN)
- Climate Action Moreland
- Climate Action Network Australia (CANA)
- Climate and Health Alliance
- Community Over Mining (Gippsland)
- Dandenong Ranges Renewable Energy Assoc Inc
- Darebin Climate Action Now
- Emerald for Sustainability (EmFSus)
- Environment Victoria
- Friends of Gippsland Bush Inc. (FOGB)
- Friends of the Earth
- G CAN [Geelong Chemical Action Network Inc]
- Global Warming Action Party Australia, East Gippsland
- Gippsland Environment Group Inc (Bairnsdale)
- Gippsland Action Group
- GreenLeap Institute
- Greenpeace Australia Pacific
- Groundswell Bass Coast
- Lighter Footprints
- Locals Into Victoria's Environment (LIVE)
- Lock The Gate Alliance
- MADGE Australia Inc
- Moonee Valley Climate Action
- Nillumbik Climate Action Now
- Quit Coal
- Surf Coast Energy Group
- The Wilderness Society
- Western Regional Environment Centre
- Wodonga Albury Towards Climate Health (WATCH)
- WTree Progress & Promotion Association
- Yarra Climate Action Now