CSG-coupleKongwak farmers turned CSG activists, Margaret Williamson and Burt Blackburn, are concerned about the latest government moves to clear the way to coal seam gas exploration in this area. They’ve invited everyone along to the Kongwak Hall on Sunday, June 23 to see a locally-made film on the subject. m502313

THE publication last week of the ‘Inquiry into greenfields mineral exploration and project development in Victoria’ by the Economic Development and Infrastructure Committee of State Parliament has served to justify local concerns about Coal Seam Gas exploration and production. The committee took note of a submission by Mark Wakeham, Campaigns Director at Environment Victoria (EV) to the effect that: “It does seem that we are open for business for coal seam gas in Victoria, and we know from talking about affected communities that that is news to them, that their regions are open…

“I would argue that the Victorian Government does not know how to regulate coal seam gas at the moment because there are so many unknowns in relation to coal seam gas. A company could develop an Environment Effects Statement or we could require an EES, and the regulators would not know how to benchmark or assess it; we have no regulatory regime in place to deal with it or with its potential impacts.

“I think there is a strong case for the coal seam gas industry being explored thoroughly by the Parliament and also by some of the regulators. I would hope the EPA is doing a lot of work on trying to understand this industry and its likely impacts.”

Having accepted these and other comments by Mr Wakeham on behalf of EV, the committee made the following recommendation: “That the Victorian Government establishes an appropriate process to enable open consultation with stakeholders, including local communities, for issues regarding future coal seam gas exploration and development.”

This recommendation has been accepted by the State Government in its response.

See the folowing link for a full copy of the final report relating to the “Inquiry into Greenfields Mineral Exploration and Project Development in Victoria” and the government’s response: http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/edic/article/1391