VICTORIA’S moratorium on coal seam gas fracking will continue until at least July 2015.
This article is courtesy of The Weekly Times.
Premier Denis Napthine made the announcement while releasing the Government’s Gas Market Taskforce final report in Melbourne this morning.
The taskforce was chaired by former Howard Government Minister Peter Reith, who came under fire during its preparation for a lack of consultation with farmers.
Dr Napthine this morning said public feedback on the report would be sought through the Department of State Development website until March next year.
Energy and Resources Minister Nicholas Kotsiras will then conduct a 12-month community consultation program with relevant stakeholders ahead of a final report to be released in July 2015.
Dr Napthine said it was imperative that onshore gas mining have no impact on underground water supplies and aquifers.
“We will never, ever allow onshore gas if it jeopardises our underground water, if it jeopardises our environment and if it jeopardises food and agriculture production,” he told reporters in Melbourne this morning.
Dr Napthine said the moratorium on fracking “will be continued for the foreseeable future and until at least June 2015 when the community consultation will be completed”.
Legislation will also be introduced to ban the use of the controversial BTEX chemicals in Victoria.
Victorian farmers welcomed the moratorium news.
VFF President Peter Tuohey said it gave the government time consider the VFF’s reforms to deliver farmers veto rights on gas developments on their land.