Recently, the Victorian Treasurer made some comments at an Australian Petroleum Producers and Exporters meeting indicating that he had decided to take a pro-CSG stance in regard to unconventional gas in Victoria.
Mr Pallas needs to be aware that so far in Victoria, 63 communities have declared themselves to be coal and coal seam gas free.
These are rural people and are extremely well informed about these issues because it is their lives which will be severely impacted by these gas developments.
It is their lives that will be affected by fugitive gas emissions and who would have to compete for access to ground water and to bear the cost of pollution – both in the air and in personal drinking water and water for livestock and irrigation.
These are the people who have stood in front of drilling company vehicles to deny access and will do so again.
They will do this because they are merely protecting their rural businesses and livelihoods, not to mention their physical and mental wellbeing.
The same vehement resistance towards unconventional gas companies has been shown by communities all over the world.
The only reason this industry has been able to start up in Queensland is because the farmers were ambushed, told a lot of lies in the beginning and are now trapped in a hopeless situation.
Victorian farmers have had due warning and now know enough to never trust this industry.
There is only a perceived shortage of gas for one thing. They will not reserve any gas for Australians, because it is more profitable to export and the higher prices Australians are now paying is not due to a shortage; it is simply because of the fact we now have to pay world parity prices to compete with consumers in Japan, Korea and China.
There is still 30 years’ supply of gas in Bass Strait.
APPEA says the industry can co-exist with farming. It is not successfully coexisting in the drier, less fertile land in Queensland, where the carrying capacity of farms is reduced, water is stolen from the aquifers and contaminated “produced” water is used for irrigation and dust suppression, potentially overloading the environment with heavy metals and complex carcinogenic hydrocarbons.
If this industry cannot co-exist there, then how can it possibly exist with our much more densely populated and highly capitalised, smaller farms in Victoria.
We also found it disconcerting that the ALP did not run a candidate in the recent Gippsland South by-election.
Does this mean that the ALP thinks that country people are expendable?
Are we to be sacrificed to the CSG invasion because the majority vote for the conservative side of politics?
Fortunately, the Greens have taken a NO-CSG stance and are being seen as an option for people who want some representation.
It appears that the state ALP has lined up alongside the Nationals and Liberals.
We have noted that the Greens are now making opposition to CSG a core issue with their city based campaigning and we will be encouraging and aiding this as much as possible.
Once city people are informed of what the issues are with onshore gas production, they will never risk having their food contaminated with carcinogenic and other harmful chemicals.
Gas is a fossil fuel and needs to be phased out.
If a long term approach was followed, then renewable energy needs to be developed.
Gas is not a transition fuel from coal, as APPEA would like us to believe. In any case, the gas is only for export and will not help Australia to transition.
The CSG industry is not a benevolent organisation and they are only bound by one motivation and that is to make profits for their shareholders.
So Mr Pallas, if these proposals from the CSG industry were subjected to a triple bottom line accounting process as any responsible government should do, then it would soon be seen that the benefits are only for a small group of corporate individuals and that the majority of people, especially in country areas, are going to be no better off financially and a lot worse off environmentally and socially. Do not entertain the CSG industry in Victoria.
Dan Caffrey, Traralgon.