VFF: Ban a win for industry
Victoria’s peak farmer group has praised both the State Government and Opposition for putting the interests of landholders above politics by not risking prime agricultural resources for short-term gains by gas and mining companies.
The government’s Resources Legislation Amendment – Fracking Ban – Bill 2016 is widely expected to pass Parliament with cross-party support. It would see a permanent ban on the exploration and development of all onshore unconventional gas in Victoria and a five-year extension on the ban on conventional onshore gas development.
Victorian Farmers Federation welcomed the move as a victory for farmers after last year praising the government’s commitment to ensuring farm land was protected from gas exploration until more research into potential impacts had been done.
“This is a great outcome for our farmers because the true environmental impact of onshore gas mining is still unknown,” VFF president David Jochinke said.
“Agriculture is a vital resource in Victoria, so it’s a relief to know that both sides recognise the importance of agriculture to our state’s future.
“Victoria has precious groundwater reserves, and without hard scientific evidence that shows the risks of onshore gas development can be properly managed, those reserves shouldn’t be put at risk.”
A VFF survey showed members’ greatest concern was the potential for cross-contamination of aquifers as a result of drilling for gas, while others feared it would cause financial or environmental harm.
Mr Jochinke said the VFF hoped this was the first step towards the government giving farmers the right to say no to mining proposals on their land.