2,000 Victorians from rural communities and Melbourne’s suburbs united to declare that gasfields will never be welcome in Victoria. On Sunday the 20th of September, farmers and community members from as far as Portland in the Western Districts and Seaspray in East Gippsland rallied at State Parliament to send a clear message to the Victorian Government that the state is off limits to unconventional gas mining companies.
“Communities have spoken, we will not accept this industry in any way, shape or form, regulations cannot and will not eradicate the massive risk this industry poses to our water, farmland, environment and health. And that is why we will never back down, we are united, we are strong and we are determined, we want a gasfield free Victoria and we won’t stop until our precious state is protected” said Ursula Alquier Lock the Gate Victorian Coordinator.
The crowd marched from the State Library to Parliament House, where a 50 metre scroll was unfurled, outlining a declaration that the people of Victoria will not allow the development of an onshore gas industry, even if that means taking non-violent direct action as people have in New South Wales.
Seaspray farmer Trevor Flint, who addressed the crowd, said, “If the government lets gasfields into Victoria, we’ll pick up where Bentley left off.
The ‘Lock the Gate’ movement against unconventional gas has brought together an alliance of farmers, environmentalists and community members from across the political spectrum.
Politicians from all major parties were invited. In attendance were Andrew Katos, Liberal MP for South Barwon, Simon Ramsay, Liberal MLC, Greg Barber, Greens Leader, Ellen Sandell, Greens MP for Melbourne and Eve Fisher, the Acting Mayor for Surf Coast Council.
The popular declaration comes as the Parliamentary Inquiry into unconventional gas continues, with its final report due on December 1st. The inquiry received more than 1,700 submissions. Onshore gas is expected to be a key deciding issue in two upcoming by-elections in Western Victoria, including in ex premier Denis Napthine’s electorate.
Our campaign against gasfields in Victoria continues. If you want to help us out, come to our information night on Tuesday September 29th, 6:60pm at Friends of the Earth, 312 Smith Street, Collingwood to find out more.