Coalition: no fracking

By Michelle Slater

The Victorian Coalition is standing its ground on a statewide moratorium on coal seam gas, despite the federal government’s support of fracking.

Shadow energy and resources spokesman David Southwick was in Morwell on Friday, August 31 as part of a funding announcement for brown coal research, with Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan.

“The Liberal-Nationals are clearly in support of banning fracking, we can’t be clearer than that and we will continue to do so if we win government in Victoria,” Mr Southwick said.

However, the shadow spokesman said he was in support of on-shore conventional gas exploration which he said would open up more gas for Victorians and lower energy bills.

He promised 10 per cent royalties for landowners and also a right for landowners to say no if they did not want drilling on their land.

Mr Southwick also accused the state government of trying to deliberately “muddy the waters” between conventional on shore gas exploration, and fracking.

“This is very different to fracking,” Mr Southwick said.

“We want to ensure that gas found in Victoria, stays in Victoria. Every day that conventional gas is not explored, is another day of high energy prices for all Victorians.”

Mr Canavan said coal seam gas was a matter for state governments but he would follow advice from the CSIRO, state and federal chief scientists and the ACCC’s east coast gas report.

“Statewide bans are not the way to progress. Of course, particular areas should be protected, and we should not develop gas on prime agricultural land,” Mr Canavan said.

“But a ban across the whole state is a recipe for energy shortages.”