Keep ban on fracking

By Jarrod Whittaker

The state government has called on newly-appointed federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor to respect the ban on fracking and coal seam gas.

Today marks two years since the state government introduced a ban on the controversial mining practices amid concerns about their environmental impact on farming land.

In a letter sent yesterday to Mr Taylor, which was obtained by The Express, Victorian Resources Minister Tim Pallas and Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio make clear the state government will not lift the ban.

“The permanent legislative ban protects the clean, green reputation of Victoria’s agriculture sector which exports about $13 billion annually in food and fibre products and employs 190,000 people,” the letter said.

“Your predecessor, the [Energy] Minister [Josh] Frydenberg, along with the Minister for Resources [Matt Canavan], repeatedly pushed for Victoria and other states and territories to reverse their bans on fracking. Scott Morrison in his role as Treasurer even threatened to cut states’ GST distribution because of bans on fracking.”

In the letter, the ministers said there was no gas shortage in Victoria with Bass Strait producing 400 petajoules of gas a year, compared with the state’s annual consumption of 200 petajoules.

Prior to the ban, more than two dozen licences to explore unconventional gas were granted for various parts of Gippsland.

Fracking involves drilling into the earth and using a high-pressure water, sand or chemical mixture to extract gas from rock structures.

Conventional gas usually involves drilling directly into gas trapped in porous rocks

“Fracking isn’t worth the risk. We have vast offshore gas resources available to ensure Victorians, and the east coast market, have affordable gas from safe, tried and tested methods,” the letter said.

“The fracking ban will not be lifted under any Victorian Labor Government. Period.”