The Coalition has today failed the people of Gippsland by voting against a motion for the Environment and Natural Resources Committee to carry out a full investigation into the coal seam gas (CSG) industry in Victoria.
This morning, the ALP tabled a motion to hold an inquiry into the likely impacts of an emerging CSG industry on Victoria. Given the evidence mounting in Queensland about the negative impacts of this sector on farming and water, this is a common sense approach. If allowed to expand, the fossil fuel industry will be with us for decades. The best time to assess possible impacts, and make a strategic assessment about the industry, is before it gets established.
Community concern about new coal and onshore gas operations continues to run high across southern Victoria, especially in Gippsland, where much of our best agricultural land is currently under license for exploration for coal, CSG or Tight Gas.
The government has sought to alleviate this concern through announcing a moratorium on the process of fracking and a ban on the use of the dangerous BTEX chemicals. They have comprehensively failed the people of Victoria in refusing to support this inquiry proposal .
Sadly, there are parallels with the state government position on wind energy. The government of Ted Baillieu introduced a policy which has had a significant negative impact on jobs, investment and local economies, apparently without carrying out any form of economic impact assessment .
The motion put forward today by the ALP proposes an inquiry into possible impacts on the natural environment; human health; and economy and jobs in Victoria. Surely, this is exactly the information we need to make an informed decision about whether we should open the door to an emerging coal and CSG industry in our state .
Friends of the Earth, Fitzroy