THE new Petroleum Regulations 2021 are open for feedback ahead of being finalised in the coming months as onshore conventional gas exploration restarts in Victoria.
In 2012, an administrative moratorium was placed on all onshore gas exploration and development state-wide.
However, in June 2020, the Petroleum Legislation Amendment Act 2020 was passed by the Victorian Parliament, allowing for the restart of onshore conventional gas exploration and production from July 1, 2021.
The restart follows three years of scientific investigations by the Victorian Gas Program, overseen by independent Stakeholder Advisory Panel. It found an onshore conventional gas industry would not compromise the environment or farming sector.
Spokesperson for Farmers for Climate Action, Ursula Alquier, said if allowed to proceed, onshore gas mining would impact the health of regional communities, farmland and the ecosystems.
“Allowing gas exploration on some of Victoria’s most productive farmland – in the Otway basin and Gippsland regions – puts at risk our state’s food security as farming cannot co-exist with onshore gas exploration or mining,” Ms Alquier said.
“Extracting onshore gas has no social licence from farmers or farming communities.
“Continuing to support the expansion of the fossil fuel industry locks us into worsening climate change impacts which farmers are at the forefront of.”
The proposed regulations support the onshore conventional gas industry only, and do not relate to fracking or coal seam gas, which are permanently banned in Victoria.
The draft regulations are available for comment at engage.vic.gov.au/regulatory-impact-statement-draft-petroleum-regulations until September 3.
More details can be found at earthresources.vic.gov.au/onshoregas.