For many Victorians, particularly those of us living in the inner-city or suburbs, it can be hard to fully understand the impact that living alongside unconventional gas can have.
Communities of regional Victoria have become increasingly active and vocal in the wake of a critical crossroads for the Andrews government.
The Victorian moratorium on unconventional gas was declared in 2012, and has allowed regional communities a brief moment of relief from the threats of living alongside unconventional gas projects. A state parliamentary committee investigating the moratorium will present a report before the end of the year. It will shape the state government’s energy policy.
Voices across regional Victoria are calling for a permanent ban on unconventional gas mining. They’re expressing grave concern for the health, safety, and future employment of their communities, if the moratorium is to be lifted.
Take this letter to the editor from Alison Marchant of Moriac:
The past two years I have been heavily involved in my local towns ‘frack free group’ and protecting our state of unconventional gas. I have yet to hear compelling arguments why this industry would benefit Victorians. Yet the list of unknowns and risks are long. More importantly with gas demand declining, many conversations are turning to our energy needs and renewables.
Victoria has a chance to set upon the right path. No more time or money wasted on unconventional gas, but getting on with clean renewables. The next few months the Andrews government will be at cross roads- a dirty track of gas or the sealed fate of renewables. Communities are behind a unconventional gas ban, let’s be a bold state.
Other voices from regional Victoria, including the Surf Coast Shire Council have echoed Marchant’s concern for unconventional gas. Just last month, 67 regional communities declared themselves ‘Gasfield Free’, demanding the Victorian government to protect their communities and the environment from the harmful industry.
These communities know that there is a better energy source, which is safe, clean and can be a strong provider of long-term employment for these regional communities. These communities are lending weight to our calls for an ambitious Victorian Renewable Energy Target from the Andrews government. For communities on the frontline of the unconventional gas it will represent tangible commitment to developing clean industries, not polluting ones.
Yes 2 Renewables is urging the Andrews government to increase the ambition of Victoria’s Renewable Energy Targets for 2020 and 2025. We have the industrial capacity and renewable energy resources to smash the government’s baseline target of 20 per cent by 2020.
If you also want the Andrews government to support renewables and not unconventional gas, here’s how you can help: