ON-FARM

Victoria bans fracking

VICTORIAN farmers have claimed a major victory, after State Parliament last night passed a bill to make Victoria the first Australian state to permanently ban fracking.

Alex Paull
Victoria bans fracking

The bill permanently bans all onshore unconventional gas exploration and development, including hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’) and coal seam gas extends the moratorium on conventional onshore gas exploration and development to 30 June 2020.

Resources Minister Wade Noonan said it was a historic day for farmers and for Victoria.

“This is a win for people power and regional communities across Victoria who have campaigned for years to see this ban in place,” Noonan said.

“We will now use the moratorium on conventional gas exploration to better understand its potential risks and benefits and we’ll listen to the experts.”

The Victorian Farmers Federation has long lobbied for a ban on unconventional gas exploration, as well as the moratorium, and VFF president David Jochinke said the decision gave landholders much-needed security.

“This decision will give security to our landholders and reinforces a commitment to long term investment in the Victorian agriculture industry,” Jochinke said.

“It’s fantastic to see both sides of politics swing their support behind our farmers by voting to ensure fracking is permanently banned.”

The decision comes as the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences March agricultural report predicted farm value would reach $63.8 billion this financial year.

Jochinke said it was the state parliament’s recognition of how important agriculture is to the local economy.

“What we have seen is a clear acknowledgement by our politicians of agriculture’s worth,” Jochinke said.

“Victoria has precious groundwater reserves and because the true environmental impact of onshore gas mining is still unknown, it would be reckless to put those reserves at risk without hard scientific evidence that show the risks of onshore gas development can be properly managed.”

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