Communities have reacted with dismay and disappointment to the latest policy development from the VIC opposition, calling for royalties to landholders who allow gas drilling on their properties.
This reverses previous Victorian Coalition policy, which called for a moratorium on all onshore drilling until 2020.
“You can’t bribe us to put our groundwater at risk – its just not going to work. We know there isn’t any gas supply problem. All this gas is going off to Asia. The liberals should fix that before they start bribing us to drill on our land” said Ian Clarke, sheep and grain farmer from Paraparap in the Surf Coast hinterland.
Chloe Aldenhoven from Friends of the Earth said, “All the experts are telling us that the nature of the gas reserves in Victoria mean that they will all require fracking or unconventional techniques during their life span if they are to produce commercial quantities of gas.
“Victorian communities united to protect land and water from onshore gasfields and bribery will not alleviate the risks to the state’s precious food growing regions and water catchments.
“We already produce plenty of gas from the Bass Strait off Victoria. This is not a gas supply issue, so there is no point in the Victorian Liberals attempting to bribe landholders for drilling. This is a problem caused by the federal governments drive to create a massive LNG export industry – so we call on the VIC Coalition to tackle the real problem – national energy policy – rather than reopen the onshore gas debate in Victoria” she said.
Lock the Gate Victorian Coordinator Ursula Alquier said the policy would be divisive and destructive in rural communities. “This proposal would pit farmer against farmer and divide rural communities, communities where the vast majority are against fracking could find themselves being forced into accepting drilling next door or down the road. Victorians have already spoken, gas fields are not welcome in our state” she said.