WHAT do you think about onshore gas developments in South Gippsland?

What about across Gippsland?

The Victorian Gas Program is hosting four workshops for Gippsland communities “to help develop a model capturing the region’s unique natural, cultural and environmental features”.

The spatial model will map an inventory of items to consider when making potential future decisions about onshore conventional gas projects in the region.

A preliminary resource and land use planning model of Gippsland has been prepared to understand the risks, benefits and impacts of potential gas exploration and developments at a local level.

Over 140 authoritative datasets have been used to map the region’s existing land uses and unique landscape features and values.

A similar resource and land use planning model was developed for south west Victoria in 2019. Both models will provide new evidence to ensure that any land use considerations in relation to gas exploration and developments are addressed as part of the decision-making process.

In the first week of June, the Victorian Gas Program is seeking local feedback on its preliminary model through a series of online workshops.

There will be a South Gippsland specific event on Tuesday, June 2, from 3pm to 5pm.

There will also be one for Wellington on Monday, June 1; East Gippsland on Wednesday, June 3, and Latrobe on Thursday, June 4, all from 3pm to 5pm.

Exploration and development of unconventional gas (fracking and coal seam gas) is permanently banned in Victoria.

Registrations and requests for further information can be made at www.earthresources.vic.gov.au.

In March, the Victorian government announced its intention for an orderly restart of onshore conventional gas industry from July 1, 2021. The decision follows three years of geoscientific, technical and environmental research through the Victorian Gas Program.

The studies found that a responsible and well-regulated onshore conventional gas industry would not risk groundwater supplies or agricultural production, according to a media release issued by the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions.

Director of the Geological Survey of Victoria, Paul McDonald, said local knowledge from residents assisted in improving the south west Victoria model, and “we are eager to see what we can learn in Gippsland”.

“We’re hosting workshops for the Gippsland community so locals can have their say on land use and considerations across the region should there be onshore conventional gas development,” Mr McDonald said.

“The land use model is crucial to our understanding of the risks, benefits and impacts of potential gas exploration and development, it forms a key part of the evidence base we’re building.”