Council turns senate blowtorch on unconventional gas

The Victorian council’s submission to the Senate Select Committee on Unconventional Gas Mining reiterates the strong community concern regarding the risks and impacts associated with any unconventional gas activity in the region.

Council has also lodged submissions to previous Victorian Parliamentary Inquiries into the industry and has called on the Victorian Premier to suspend all exploration and mining activity, continuing the current moratorium on the industry indefinitely.

There is currently one active permit to explore for hydrocarbons active on the Surf Coast (PEP163), which was renewed in late 2015.

Winchelsea Ward Councillor Carol McGregor said the industry posed too big a risk to vital farming land, water resources and the natural environment of the Surf Coast.

“Council is committed to supporting our residents, farmers and communities that are deeply concerned about the risk that any cessation of the Victorian moratorium on unconventional gas activity poses to our region,” Cr McGregor said.

Torquay Ward Councillor Eve Fisher said, “Any unconventional gas industry on the Surf Coast is completely incompatible with the natural environment that our whole region is built on.

“We have a precious natural environment on the Surf Coast that we need to protect from threats such as those posed by potential onshore gas operations.”

Anglesea Ward Councillor Margot Smith said Council would continue to oppose unconventional gas operations because of the uncertainty and risk they presented.

“The risks to farming, to our nationally significant tourism economy and to our natural environment are simply too big, and while the unconventional gas operations are primarily regulated by state governments, Council will pursue every avenue available to us to express our opposition to the industry.”

The Senate Select Committee is due to report back to parliament before 30 June 2016.