A group of community members from Gippsland, Western Victoria and Melbourne stood in unity out the front of Resource Minister Wade Noonan’s office this morning to present the minister with an updated scroll recording the names and percentages of the 75 communities across Victoria that have declared themselves gasfield free and off limits to onshore gas mining.
The declaration of Macathur and Bessiebelle in Western Victoria over the weekend brought the running total of declared communities to 75 in total. With several more rural communities still surveying, this number will continue to grow.
Today’s action was to remind the minister that these communities have removed the social licence for an onshore gas industry and will do whatever it takes to keep their clean and green communities gasfield free. “We thank the minister for engaging transparently and honestly with rural communities in Gippsland and Western Victoria that are living under approved licences but the uncertainty is causing a lot of stress. There is clear evidence that this industry carries many risks to water, farmland and human health and communities feel it’s time for this government to step up and protect our state’s food and water security and put in place a ban on all onshore gas mining” said Lock the Gate Victorian Coordinator Ursula Alquier.
The action happened on the same day figures from a RechTEL poll commissioned by Friends of the Earth were released showing that 55.1% of respondents supported a permanent ban on onshore gas mining. With just 9.7% of those in support of an industry.
“I can’t think of another issue for a long time that has seen such overwhelming and broad consensus amongst both city and country people. Victorians are saying this industry is too risky, we don’t need it and it’s not welcome and that’s because food and water security is vital to all of us no matter where you live” said Ms Alquier.