Finally ‘frack free’

South Gippsland campaigners who fought to stop unconventional gas development in Victoria have celebrated the government’s ban with fanfare.

The State Government announced exploration and extraction of unconventional onshore gas, including the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing known as ‘fracking’, would be outlawed and a bill would be introduced to extend an existing moratorium on conventional gas to 2020.

The familiar, triangular yellow signs that once read ‘Lock the Gate to Coal and Gas Companies’ were redesigned with a message of ‘Frack Free’ at the Mirboo North Grain Store recently.

A crowd of 70 people from Mirboo North, Poowong, Fish Creek, Morwell and Warragul attended.

Coal and CSG Free Mirboo North campaigners Phil Piper and Marg Thomas addressed the crowd and gave a short history of the campaign, working with Gasfield Free groups and the successive ministers who brought about the ban.

Victorian Lock the Gate campaign manager Ursula Alquier spoke of the tenacity and determination of communities and said this was one of the elements of the campaign’s success.

Campaigner Gayle Margret said it was lovely to catch up with those who signed petitions, wrote letters and displayed Lock the Gate signs to let government and mining companies know they were not prepared to give a social licence to unconventional mining.

Ms Margaret said an unprecedented number of people attended rallies across the state to make the ban a reality.

“We’re just thrilled at this outcome and are now looking forward to the ban passing unimpeded into legislation,” Ms Margaret said.