Rural and urban Alliance calls on State Government to ban new fossil fuel projects

MEDIA RELEASE Thursday 12 April

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 50 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?”

For further comment:
Cam Walker, Friends of the Earth 0419 338 047


Groups which have supported this statement

Alternative Technology Association
Ararat Greenhouse Action Group Inc
Australian Students Environment Network
Australian Youth Climate Coalition
Baby Boomers for Climate Change Action
Benalla Sustainable Future Group
Beyond Zero Emissions
Braidwood Greens
Brimbank Climate Action Network (BrimbankCAN)
CLIMARTE
Climate Action Moreland
Climate Action Network Australia (CANA)
Climate and Health Alliance
Community Over Mining (Gippsland)
C4 (Communities Combatting Climate Crisis), Healesville
Dandenong Ranges Renewable Energy Assoc Inc
Darebin Climate Action Now
Emerald for Sustainability (EmFSus)
Environment Victoria
Friends of Bass Valley Bush Inc
Friends of Gippsland Bush Inc. (FOGB)
Friends of Pt. Addis
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
Grow Lightly South Gippsland
Healesville Environment Watch Inc.
INC3
Latrobe Valley Sustainability Group
Lighter Footprints
Locals Into Victoria’s Environment (LIVE)
Lock The Gate Alliance
MADGE Australia Inc
Melton Community Supported Agriculture
Moonee Valley Climate Action
Nillumbik Climate Action Now
Quit Coal
Riddells Creek Sustainability
Slow Food Melbourne
Surf Coast Energy Group
Sustainable Agriculture & Communities Alliance (Western VIC)
The Wilderness Society
Western Regional Environment Centre
Wodonga Albury Towards Climate Health (WATCH)
WTree Progress & Promotion Association
Yarra Climate Action Now

Who supports this moratorium?

More than 1,100 individuals have signed the petition calling for a moratorium. http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-dangerous-coal-seam-gas-mining-in-victoria