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National inquiry into the impact of unconventional gas mining in Australia

→ Send a submission!

Senator Glen Lazarus has successfully campaigned for an establishment of a Senate Select Committee to inquire into the impact of Unconventional Gas mining in Australia, after his shock in visiting communities affected by gasfield developments in southern Queensland.

He is taking submissions just like the Victorian inquiry did and will hold hearing across the country, including Victoria.

It is also being referred to as the “Bender Inquiry’ out of respects for George Bender, a Queensland farmer who lost his fight against CSG companies.

Please take the time to make a submission.

The fact that the Victoria inquiry received over 1,700 submissions clearly demonstrated that communities are concerned and stand firm that there is no social licence for industry to operate.

You can submit a copy of your Victorian one or write a new submission, but either way your voice counts!

» Send your submission by 14 March 2016 to

Please state if you wish for your name to be withheld, when sending, otherwise your name will be published.

» More information at

Thank you all for your continued support!

Final report on onshore unconventional gas tabled in Victorian parliament

On 8 December 2015 the Inquiry Committee into Onshore Unconventional Gas tabled its Final Report in the Victorian parliament. This long awaited report will be used by the Labor Government to make a decision about the future of onshore and unconventional gas mining in Victoria.

Friends of the Earth Melbourne wrote:

“The report at no time recommends a lifting of the current moratorium and several additional minority reports recommend the Labor Government support a ban.

Over 70 gasfield free communities across Victoria are calling on the Andrews Government to focus on the recommendation made by Labor MPs Shaun Leane and Harriet Shing, Greens MP Samantha Dunn and Fishers & Shooters MP Daniel Young, who are calling for a permanent ban.

In minority reports, they clearly stated that this industry, if allowed to go ahead threatened the agriculture industry, without any guarantees that water, the environment and communities will be protected.”

» Read more

» Download the Committee’s Final Report.

Here’s Quit Coal‘s summary of the final report.


The ALP chose an Upper House committee to run the inquiry, meaning that there were MPs from the ALP, Coalition, Greens and Shooters Party. The subsequent inquiry received more submissions than any environment inquiry in Victoria’s history (more than 1800), and at the public hearings, the committee heard compelling evidence about the dangers posed by this industry.

But the cross-party MPs remain divided on the issue of what to do about the moratorium on unconventional gas. Instead, the committee channeled their inner Tom Cruise and the final report included four minority reports from all but one of the voting MPs.

The Coalition MPs called for a five-year ban. Sadly, their report is party political, focusing more on attacking the government than listening to the community. Basically they recommend extending the moratorium for another 5 years to examine the regulatory systems that exist interstate/overseas to know how to go ahead in Victoria. They seem quite opposed to a permanent ban.

State Labor Government MPs Shaun Leane and Harriet Shing called for a permanent ban on unconventional gas, as did Greens MP Samantha Dunn. Samantha said that, based on the evidence received during the inquiry, UCG posed ‘an unacceptable threat to Victoria’s farmland and communities which cannot be mitigated through regulation.’ The Shooters and Fishers MP, Daniel Young, also supported a permanent ban.

The majority ALP report was actually great: “The Inquiry was presented with overwhelming evidence that Victoria’s regional communities, particularly those in the Otway and Gippsland Basins, have refused to grant any substantive form of “social licence” that might enable onshore unconventional gas exploration or extraction to take place. It is clear that community opposition to any (further) onshore unconventional industry growth or development in Victoria has grown exponentially over time.

“In fact, the evidence indicated that the actual and/or perceived risks of an unconventional gas exploration or extraction are, for an overwhelming majority of communities in regional Victoria, too great to enable exploration or extraction of onshore unconventional gas in the terms proposed by industry”.

They suggest that the funding and resourcing needed to properly manage an UCG industry would be better spent on developing renewable energy.

A fourth report, provided by Government MP Adem Somyurek, called for a three-year moratorium on fracking, but suggested conventional drilling be permitted for onshore gas resources. He wants the government to support drilling for conventional gas immediately. He suggests it is important to “allow conventional non-fracking gas exploration” along with a reservation policy. He wants conventional gas to be taken out of the moratorium. He even quotes the very discredited Peter Reith! Bear in mind that Mr Somyurek only bothered to show up at one of the public hearings!

Our analysis:

Overall, it is very optimistic that unconventional gas will not be allowed to go ahead immediately in Victoria. However, what’s not clear is whether the Victorian state Labor Government will commit to a total ban or just push through a five year extension of the moratorium.

It will be tempting for the Government to put the decision off to be someone else’s problem in five years. But that would make this the community’s problem: a huge burden on every farmer trying to plan their future; a source of continual stress and uncertainty for regional communities; a fight we must continue over half a decade.

So, we must make it clear to the Government: Only a ban will do.

With the Parliamentary Committee reported, the decision is now with Premier Daniel Andrews. For the next two to four months, we must make sure he hears our voices at every opportunity. We can start today.

Below is a copy of an email Alan Manson from Frack Free Grovedale sent to Premier Daniel Andrews:


Hon. Daniel Andrews MP
Premier of Victoria

Dear Premier Andrews,

On behalf of our members, I would like to thank you for arranging the Parliamentary Inquiry Into Onshore Unconventional Gas in Victoria that provided many Victorians and the UG industry a forum in which to present the facts about Unconventional Gas (UG) through the report recently tabled in the Victorian Parliament.

We also want to thank you for your tweeted comments sent to Alison Marchant recently, saying:

“We support a moratorium until the science is clear and community support exists…”

Our members have noted in the report, the following statements that relate to your comments:

Minority Report – Harriet Shing MLC (Deputy Chair) and Shaun Leane MLC

“Social Licence: The Inquiry was presented with overwhelming evidence that Victoria’s regional communities, particularly those in the Otway and Gippsland Basins, have refused to grant any substantive form of “social licence” that might enable onshore unconventional gas exploration or extraction to take place. It is clear that community opposition to any (further) onshore unconventional industry growth or development in Victoria has grown exponentially over time.”

“Alternative Energy Resources: On this basis [of massively funding the structure needed to regulate any future UG mining industry], it is our view that funding and resources that might otherwise be unconventional gas would simply delay the making of a further decision about allocated to undertaking this further work are more appropriately directed to the potential for an onshore unconventional gas industry, and enable these investment in the certain, predictable and long-term benefits of renewable energy initiatives, a number of which are already the subject of investments by the Andrews Government.”

As the Liberal / National coalition remain wishy-washy about having an Unconventional Gas industry in Victoria or not; our members would like you to know that we fully endorse all of Harriet Shing and Shaun Leane’s Minority Report comments; and we sincerely hope that you will place a permanent ban on the UG industry in Victoria and then support the development of a renewable energy industry.

As there are many long-established agricultural and tourism industries that would be decimated if a UG industry was permitted into Victoria, your party’s support for a renewable energy industry would be consistent with the recommendations in the report and with the policies of your government.

Our members are looking forward to learning about your government’s decision regarding these matters in the New Year.

Many thanks again Premier Andrews, and kind regards,

Alan Manson
Frack Free Grovedale

Chloe Aldenhoven and Alison Marchan from Western Vic community campaigners wrote:

“It’s been a very busy year, with many of you contributing written submissions to the inquiry, attending hearings or rally’s and community events. It should be noted that your voices have been heard loud and clear.

The final report of the Unconventional gas inquiry will now be used by the Labor Government to make their final decision on Unconventional gas.

In a quick summary, the final report saw several minority reports written and the committee split. Four committee members (Labor MP Shaun Leane, Labor MP Harriet Shing, Greens MP Samantha Dunn and Shooters & Fisher Party MP Daniel Young) called for a ban on Unconventional gas. The other committee members (Liberal MP David Davis, Liberal MP Richard Dall-Riva and Nationals Melina Bath) called for an extension of the current 5 Year moratorium for all onshore gas. The committee also made 15 recommendations IF the industry was allowed to go ahead.

The report although heavily debated in parliament documented all the concerns that communities have had over the past year.Early next year the Labor government will need to make a decision, probably on a whole gas policy for Victoria, encompassing unconventional gas. The government will also need to decide whether to lift the current ban on conventional gas drilling. It is quite likely we will need to deal with this issue, so it would be worthwhile discussing your groups position about onshore conventional gas drilling.

There are a couple of important things you can do now to send make sure our message is heard, that only a total ban on unconventional & onshore gas mining will do.

1. Thank Harriet Shing, Shaun Leane (ALP) and Samantha Dunn (Greens) and Daniel Young (Shooters and Fishers) for their leadership on the issue. Tell them you support a ban and that the community appreciates their leadership.

2. Tell the Premier you support a permanent ban on ALL onshore gas drilling

We have made it very clear to the inquiry that communities will never give social licence for this industry as we have have serious concerns with the risks unconventional gas mining poses to our farmland, water, jobs & health of our communities. Across Victoria people like you are protecting their towns from gasfields. This includes conventional gas mining if it threatens our water, air, agriculture, environment, health and cultural heritage.

So once again, we thank you, for all your ongoing support to keep Victoria Gasfield Free.

Regarding Lock the Gate’s position on mining operations, their position is this.

Irresponsible Mining:  They are opposed to all coal and gas mining that is regarded as irresponsible and invasive. So this definitely covers Unconventional Gas.

Conventional Gas Mining:  When it comes to Conventional Gas, Lock the Gate take each project on the case by case basis. For example, one area that is ear marked for Conventional may include ‘unsafe irresponsible’ practices; so therefore, it would not be supported.

Unconventional Gas in Victoria:  As for gasfield free groups here in Vic, we are asking for a total ban on Unconventional Gas. When it comes to Conventional Gas mining we have some concerns; namely:

  1. There is no evidence of Conventional Gas pockets discovered onshore in Victoria; so are companies using this to get their foot in the door? Probably!
  2. The issue of land access and of being taken to VCAT for farmers is still the same.
  3. Regulatory systems are not in place (Auditor Generals report).
  4. If Conventional Gas operations are likely to threaten our water, land, agriculture, air and environment, it would not be supported. It is still the same things we are trying to protect from Unconventional.

We hope you have an enjoyable festive season and a safe New Year. We are very much looking forward (along with your help) to making 2016 the year Victoria officially becomes a gasfield free state.

To stay up to date (over the holidays) with upcoming events and how you can help us keep Victoria gasfield free, check out our website at:

Kind regards

Chloe Aldenhoven and Alison Marchant

Western Vic community campaigners

Tel 0407 875123 ”

Huge anti-fracking rally in Melbourne on 20 September

Victoria can be the first state in Australia to put in place a total ban on all unconventional gas mining. It is up to us.

Take part in the ‘Farmers & Friends Against Fracking’ rally in Melbourne on Sunday 20 September 2015.
This will be great opportunity to bring our message to the city that gasfields will never be welcome in Victoria.

» Going? Let other know – on Facebook

» Print this flyer and hand it out to colleagues and friends: Picture 48

Join us on 20 September 2015

You are invited to the largest declaration in Australia! We need thousands to take to the streets in Melbourne, to declare Victoria Gasfield Free.

The idea of the Unconventional Gas industry being forced upon communities has seen a widespread movement. Over 60 Victorian communities have celebrated, declaring their towns ‘gasfield free’, so we need you on September 20th. You may live in a declared area, which you can walk with your community, or you may live in another beautiful part of Victoria, either way, your attendance makes a difference!

By walking united to Parliament house, we will be sending a clear message that the Unconventional Gas industry in not welcome in Victoria.

We will start at 12pm at the State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston Street, and walk to Parliament House at Spring Street. Afterwards you are welcome to ‘picnic’ in the Treasury Gardens.

Please join us, to celebrate where we live, and to keep Victoria Gasfield Free.


“From country to city, we come together to protect our land, our water and our health from unconventional gas. Help us send a clear message that fracking and gasfields will never be welcome in Victoria.”

Public hearings into onshore unconventional gas

The Victorian state inquiry into unconventional gas in full swing. Gippsland and Melbourne hearings took place in July, and a hearing in Western Victoria – Torquay – took place on 12-13 August 2015.

Below are the transcripts which have been provided by


Tuesday 15 September 2015

Hearing in Parliament House

Time Witness Transcript Written submission
12.00 noon Energy Users Association of Australia pdfEnergy Users Association of Australia(PDF 291.27 KB)
12.35 pm Environment Protection Authority pdfEnvironment Protection Authority Victoria(PDF 6.14 MB)

Wednesday 2 September 2015

Hearing in Parliament House

Time Witness Transcript Written submission
7.00 pm Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association pdfCorrected Transcript(PDF 49.44 KB) pdfPlastics and Chemicals Industries Association(PDF 948.95 KB)
7.30 pm CSR Limited  pdfCorrected Transcript(PDF 38.4 KB) pdfCSR Limited(PDF 139.78 KB)


Tuesday 1 September 2015

Hearing in Parliament House

Time Witness Transcript Written submission
12.00 noon Department of Health and Human Services  pdfCorrected Transcript(PDF 67.91 KB)

pdfPresentation(PDF 82.25 KB)

pdfAnswers to QON(PDF 100.1 KB)

pdfGovernment of Victoria(PDF 4.52 MB)


12.50 pm Doctors for the Environment Australia  pdfCorrected Transcript(PDF 30.61 KB)

pdfHandout(PDF 768.09 KB)

 pdfDoctors for Environment Australia(PDF 580.83 KB)

Tuesday 18 August 2015

Hearing in Parliament House

Time Witness Transcript Written submission
12.00 noon Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning

Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources

 pdfCorrected Transcript(PDF 103.64 KB)

pdfPresentation(PDF 724.56 KB)

 pdfGovernment of Victoria(PDF 4.52 MB)


Wednesday 12 August 2015 – Regional Hearing

Surf Coast Shire Council, 1 Merrijig Drive, Torquay

Time Witness Transcript Written submission
12.00 noon Surf Coast Shire Council

Greater Geelong City Council

Colac Otway Shire Council

pdfCorrected Transcript(PDF 59.11 KB)

pdfSurf Coast Shire Presentation.pdf(PDF 2.07 MB)

pdfAnswers to QON(PDF 754.54 KB)

pdfCity of Greater Geelong(PDF 601.66 KB)

pdfColac Otway Shire(PDF 292.12 KB)

1.30 pm Barwon Water  pdfCorrected Transcript(PDF 44.64 KB)

pdfHandout(PDF 504 KB)

pdfBarwon Region Water Corporation(PDF 290.2 KB)
2.15 pm Frack Free Moriac  pdfCorrected Transcript(PDF 40.37 KB)
3.00 pm Mike Forrester  pdfCorrected Transcript(PDF 41.72 KB) pdfBarwon Paediatricans(PDF 500.07 KB)
3.45 pm G21 Agribusiness

Otway Harvest Trail

 pdfCorrected Transcript(PDF 40.84 KB)

pdfG21 Agribusiness Handout(PDF 274.03 KB)

4.15 pm Comments from the Floor pdfIan Clarke(PDF 12.96 KB)

pdfWendy Klason(PDF 11.04 KB)

pdfDarren Noyes-Brown(PDF 10.42 KB)

pdfAlan Manson(PDF 8.98 KB)

pdfSuzanne Yandle(PDF 10.43 KB)

pdfChris Johnson(PDF 9.28 KB)

pdfKristin Bitmead(PDF 10.62 KB) 



Thursday 13 August 2015 – Regional Hearing

Surf Coast Shire Council, 1 Merrijig Drive, Torquay

Time Witness Transcript Written submission
9.00 am 3228 Residents Association  pdfCorrected Transcript(PDF 42.4 KB)
9.45 am Friends Of The Earth  pdfCorrected Transcript(PDF 68.02 KB)


pdfFriends of the Earth(PDF 373.1 KB)

pdfAttachment 1(PDF 113.74 KB)

10.45 am Professor Samantha Hepburn, Deakin University pdfCorrected Transcript(PDF 76.68 KB)  pdfSamantha Hepburn(PDF 855.26 KB)
11.30 am Michael Blackam, Coffey  pdfCorrected Transcript(PDF 60.25 KB)

pdfPresentation(PDF 1.31 MB)

pdfMichael Blackam(PDF 1.89 MB)
12.45 pm Dr George Carman  pdfCorrected Transcript(PDF 66.14 KB)

pdfPresentation.pdf(PDF 266.41 KB)

pdfDr. George Carman(PDF 178.79 KB)
 1.15 pm Frack Free Geelong
Gasfield Free Torquay
pdfCorrected Transcript(PDF 31.01 KB)  pdfFrack Free Geelong(PDF 4.27 MB)
 2.00 pm Wurdale Landcare Group pdfCorrected Transcript(PDF 37.38 KB) pdfWurdale Landcare Group(PDF 27.96 KB)
 2.30 pm Environmental Justice Australia pdfCorrected Transcript(PDF 49.84 KB)

pdfHandout 1(PDF 502.95 KB)

pdfHandout 2(PDF 359.99 KB)

pdfEnvironmental Justice Australia(PDF 2.8 MB)


Wednesday 5 August 2015

Hearing in Parliament House

Time Witness Transcript Written submission
7.30 pm Environment Victoria
Dr Nick Aberle, Safe Climate Campaign Manager
Anne Martinelli, One Million Homes Energy Efficiency Campaigner
 pdfCorrected Transcript(PDF 58.77 KB) pdfEnvironment Victoria(PDF 538.08 KB)
8.15 pm Grattan Institute
Tony Wood, Energy Program Director
David Blowers, Energy Fellow
 pdfCorrected Transcript(PDF 82.06 KB)  pdfGrattan Institute(PDF 10.59 MB)

Wednesday 22 July 2015

Hearing in Parliament House

Time Witness Transcript Written submission
10.00 am Mr Tim Forcey, Melbourne Energy Institute, University of Melbourne pdfTranscript(PDF 86.94 KB)

pdfPresentation(PDF 1003.12 KB)

pdfUniversity of Melbourne Energy Institute(PDF 436.3 KB)
10.45 am Professor Peter Cook pdfTranscript(PDF 71.89 KB) pdfAustralian Academy of Technological Sciences & Engineering(PDF 263.44 KB)

pdfAppendix 1(PDF 9.09 MB)

11.30 am Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning pdfTranscript(PDF 66.74 KB)

pdfPresentation(PDF 1.65 MB)

12.30 pm Victorian Farmers Federation pdfTranscript(PDF 65.63 KB) pdfVictorian Farmers Federation(PDF 1.55 MB)
1.15 pm Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) pdfTranscript(PDF 91.45 KB) pdfAPPEA(PDF 1.88 MB)
2.00 pm Dr Matthew Currell, RMIT University, Hydrogeology and Environmental Engineering pdfTranscript(PDF 64.47 KB)

pdfPresentation (PDF 2 MB)

pdfMatthew Currell (PDF 197.98 KB)
2.45 pm Minerals Council of Australia pdfTranscript(PDF 328.4 KB) pdfMinerals Council of Australia(PDF 5.99 MB)



Wednesday 1 July 2015

Gippsland Regional Sports Complex (GRSC), 116 Cobains Road, Sale

Time Witness Transcript Written submission
9.00 am Dr Jo McCubbin pdfCorrected Transcript47.23 KB

pdfPresentation(PDF 9.5 MB)

9.45 am Dairy Australia pdfCorrected Transcript44.38 KB
10.45 am Lakes Oil pdfCorrected Transcript101.60 KB

pdfPresentation(PDF 3.21 MB)

pdfLakes Oil(PDF 1.51 MB)
11.30 am Ignite Energy Resources pdfCorrected Transcript46.52 KB

pdfPresentation(PDF 891.11 KB)



Tuesday 30 June 2015 – Regional Hearing

Gippsland Regional Sports Complex (GRSC), 116 Cobains Road, Sale, Victoria

Time Witness Transcript
12.00 noon Wellington Shire
South Gippsland Shire
Baw Baw Shire
LaTrobe Shire
Bass Coast Shire
pdfCorrected Transcript72.64 KB  

pdfBass Coast Shire Council(PDF 88.32 KB)

1.30 pm Alex Arbuthnot pdfCorrected Transcript48.50 KB pdfAlexander Arbuthnot(PDF 183.78 KB)
2.15 pm Lock the Gate pdfCorrected Transcript52.07 KB pdfLock the Gate(PDF 1.97 MB)
3.15 pm Ross Scott pdfCorrected Transcript51.62 KB
4.00 pm Committee for Gippsland pdfCorrected Transcript38.28 KB
4.45 pm Comments from the Floor pdfCorrected Transcript64.29 KB



Transcripts source

The transcripts above are all provided by


Final report

The the final report on 1 Dececember 2015. So there is still a few very vital weeks to keep the pressure on the committee and government.

» Here is a list of things you still can do:

An article published in The Australian on 12 August 2015 under the headline ‘MPs to cede to gas ban activists’, and with the subtitle: ‘A deluge of “Lock the Gate”-style anti-exploration submissions to a parliamentary committee ­appear to have crushed the chances of Victoria establishing its own onshore gas industry in the short term.’ …would indicate that we are on the right track towards a total ban.

» Transcripts from the first hearings can be found here:


Thank you so much to all of you that put in submissions to the inquiry commission. They received a total of 1,600 submissions, most of which can be read on the website here:

For instance:

» City of Greater Geelong (PDF 601.66 KB)

» Colac Otway Shire (PDF 292.12 KB)

» Frack Free Geelong (PDF 4.27 MB)

» Geelong Sustainability Group (PDF 802.98 KB)

» Doctors for Environment Australia (PDF 580.83 KB)

» Barwon Paediatricans (PDF 500.07 KB)

» Environment Victoria (PDF 538.08 KB)

» Friends of the Earth (PDF 373.1 KB)

» Lock the Gate (PDF 1.97 MB)

» University of Melbourne Energy Institute (PDF 436.3 KB)

» Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering

» Matthew Currell (PDF 197.98 KB)
Dr Matthew Currell, RMIT University, Hydrogeology and Environmental Engineering, spoke at the hearing in Melbourne on 22 July 2015.

» Climate Change Our Future (PDF 517.08 KB)

» Barwon Region Water Corporation (PDF 290.2 KB)
Barwon Water supplies drinking water to a permanent population of 285,000 people – 20 percent of Victoria’s regional population – across an 8,100 square kilometre service area. However, their submission is disappointingly weak.

» Surf Coast Air Action Inc (PDF 393.87 KB)

» Andrew Laird (PDF 314.96 KB)

» VFF – Victorian Farmers Federation (PDF 1.55 MB)

» Queenscliffe Community Association (PDF 465.87 KB)

» Lakes Oil (PDF 1.51 MB)

» APPEA (PDF 1.88 MB)

» Minerals Council of Australia (PDF 5.99 MB)

The Parliamentary Inquiry into Unconventional Gas in Victoria is holding a public hearing on 22 July at Parliament House in Melbourne.  See below for details.

If you care to attend, your presence would help our numbers impact the hearing.

Media release from

Public hearing into unconventional gas

On Wednesday 22 July, a Victorian parliamentary committee is holding a public hearing in Melbourne in relation to the inquiry into unconventional gas in Victoria. The Committee is examining the potential economic, social and environmental impacts of onshore unconventional gas development.

Chair of the Victorian Parliament’s Environment and Planning Committee, Hon David Davis, said “the inquiry is an opportunity for Victorian communities to have input into the Committee’s terms of reference”.

“The Committee has received many submissions to date from individuals, organisations and governments.

“The Committee has previously held two days of hearings and will continue to seek community input as the inquiry progresses. This hearing in Melbourne will be an opportunity for the Committee to receive evidence from expert witnesses and peak bodies.”

WHAT: Public hearing into onshore unconventional gas

WHEN: Wednesday, 22 July 2015 from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm

WHERE: Legislative Council Committee Room, Parliament House, Melbourne

WHO: Environment and Planning Committee will conduct the hearing with the following schedule:

10:00 am   Melbourne Energy Institute, University of Melbourne

10:45 am   Prof Peter Cook

11:30 am   Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning

12:30 pm   Victorian Farmers Federation

1:15 pm   Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA)

2:00 pm   Dr Matthew Currell, RMIT University, Hydrogeology and Environmental Engineering

2:45 pm   Minerals Council of Australia

Further details can be found on the Committee’s website:

Enquiries: Keir Delaney, Secretary, Environment and Planning Committee – 03 8682 2816

Issued: 16 July 2015

» Source: Parliament of Victoria

How to write a submission to the Victorian government

You have until this Friday afternoon 10 July 2015 to get a submission in.

This is the best chance we will ever have to knock this toxic industry off before it gets a foothold in our state. Please write a brief submission by close of business Friday. A short letter is all that is required.

Below are some suggestions on how to write a submission to the Victorian Government’s Unconventional Gas Mining Inquiry

Tips are in red font colour. Terms of Reference are in black

By Cam, Friends of the Earth, and Alison, Frack Free Moriac

Submission Tip Sheet

Start by introducing yourself (a little bit about who you are/ where you live / what you do for a living / why you’re concerned about unconventional gas mining)

Make it clear in your opening statement that you do not support any form of unconventional gas mining (including coal seam gas, tight gas, shale gas and underground coal gasification)

If you live in a community that has conducted a survey, mention these results and that you and your community have removed the social licence for this industry to operate in your area and that you will never support it, no matter the potential regulations put in place.

When writing a submission it would be best to address all (of the following) terms of reference, but you can add/ remove the issues that matter to you.

(ADD – That’s right, if the terms of reference do not cover all the issues you want to talk about, then add them in, this is allowed and will strengthen your submission)

Don’t forget to recommend that Victoria ban all unconventional gas drilling permanently (and the benefits of a total ban eg. giving certainty to existing industry (agriculture & tourism), making Victoria a more attractive place for investments in these industries plus new investments such as renewables. Which will create more long term jobs in sustainable industries.

The prospectivity of Victoria’s geology for commercial sources of onshore unconventional gas.

Talk about why we would put at risk water, farmland, community health, food security, environment and jobs in other sectors such as agriculture & tourism for little or no financial gain.


The environmental, land productivity and public health risks, risk mitigations and residual risks of onshore unconventional gas activities.

We can all go to town in this section, make references to peer reviewed studies if you like or the experiences of those in the US and Queensland and that the impacts felt in QLD will be even worse here due to our more densely populated region.

The coexistence of onshore unconventional gas activities with existing land and water uses

A key issue relating to this industry is the question of its likely impacts on agricultural production and domestic and export market requirements.

Use figures from local council and government websites to show what our existing industries (agriculture in particular) are worth to the states economy and the potential for growth here and why that cannot happen if unconventional gas mining goes ahead.

If you’re a farmer talk about how the infrastructure required for gas wells (all weather access roads, cleared well pads, compression stations, evaporation dams) would make the day to day running of your farm unviable. 

Agricultural production and domestic and export market requirements

If you are a farmer, food producer or work in the agriculture industry please answer point (a) in as much detail as possible. 

The legal rights of property owners and the impact on property values; and

Any implications for local and regional development, investment and jobs

Point (c) is very important and something that we can all answer as we will all be impacted. Also the state labor government say they are a ‘jobs’ government so we need to show them and give them examples of why UCG will not create jobs but put at
risk jobs in other sectors.

The ability of potential onshore unconventional gas resources contributing to the State’s overall energy sources

Unconventional gas is a fossil fuel. By definition, unconventional gases are harder to extract than conventional gas.

an ability to provide a competitive source of energy and non energy inputs for Victorian industries

An affordable energy source for domestic consumers

Because they need to be fracked to release the gas from the coal seam or rock, the energy cost of the gas is high compared with conventional LNG. Additionally, with the government plans to export massive volumes of gas through ports in QLD, Victorian consumers will be competing with international energy prices in
coming year. So UCG is unlikely to be an affordable energy source for consumers. A much better option is to look at ways we can reduce our need to use gas (for instance through ensuring better energy efficiency standards in new homes and a government funded energy efficiency retrofit program for existing houses etc

Carbon dioxide emissions from these sources;

Use examples of emissions and fugitive emissions from UCG comparing these to renewable energy sources. Air pollution from gas treatment plants is also important to mention and it’s human health impacts.

The resource knowledge requirements and policy and regulatory safeguards that would be necessary to enable exploration and development of onshore unconventional gas resources

Give examples of why this industry (regardless of regulation) has failed to be proven safe elsewhere. Put forward that the industry has had a long time to prove that their practices are safe and yet have been unable to do so. Talk about why the industry, however much it can reduce it’s risks by regulation will always pose a rick and any risk is too great.

Further scientific work to inform the effective regulation of an onshore unconventional gas industry, including the role of industry and government, particularly in relation to rigorous monitoring and enforcement, and the effectiveness of impact mitigation responses; and

Performance standards for managing environmental and health risks, including water quality, air quality, chemical use, waste disposal, land contamination and geotechnical stability;


Relevant domestic and international reviews and inquiries covering the management of risks for similar industries including, but not limited to, the Victorian Auditor-General Office’s report Unconventional Gas: Managing Risks and Impacts
(contingent upon this report being presented to Parliament) and other reports generated by the Victorian community and stakeholder engagement programs.


How to lodge a submission

Submissions can be sent via email: or ESubmission on the government website:

Written submissions can be sent via post to:
Keir Delaney, Secretary, Environment & Planning Committee Parliament House, Spring Street, Melbourne VIC 3002

Closing date for submissions: Friday 10 July 2015.

Examples for inspiration

» Click here to download six examples of submissions, for your inspiration.

They were compiled by Frack Free Moriac, who wrote: “You are welcome to use the attached submissions, you’ll just have to put your name and address at the bottom, before sending. The submissions can be personal, how you feel about this industry. It can be technical, quoting research, or just concerns you have. You may like to edit some of the attached submission, to suit you.”

» Click here for a tip sheet which Friends of the Earth have put together (which includes how to lodge the submission), a draft submission from Cam Walker (this is to be used as a guideline, do not copy-paste) from Friends of the Earth, and an email from Ali from the Frack Free Moriac group – for your inspiration.

» Click here for an easy submissions format by Ellen Sandell.

It is important that the submission is in your own words.

Every submission against the industry will help – and shows the Government how many VOTES are at stake here. It only needs to be short and from the heart.

Interesting reading

» If you would like to see submissions already posted by Victorians, go to

You could also mention…

CSG is a hit and ruyn assault on families, communities and agricultural land. CSG is the asbestos of our time.

Health Impacts

• local children have near universal and sever skin irritations and asthma which worsens with proximity to the gas fields. Severe and recurrent nosebleeds are common.

• Severe neurological effects: McCarron found one third of children at Tara had parasthesia (abnormal sensations and numbness) and some had “abnormal movements” (central nervous damage).

• Severe effects on the unborn: US studies have shown 100% increase in neural tube defects and 30% increase in congenital hear defects. Other studies have shown under we

• Huge increase in particulates which are class one carcinogens

• Wide range of toxic chemicals which show levels 10-100x above safe levels

• Existing health reports have suffered from poor methodology such as being based on affected people volunteering information only or intermittent testing which was discontinued, and are also hampered by the confidentiality agreements

Enviromental Impacts

• release of very potent green house gases including methane, that nullify any GHG saving associated with the transition from coal to gas

• unconventional gas extraction uses masses of water, draining our scarce water resources

• aquifer contamination with toxic chemicals

• release of naturally occurring BTEX compounds and other contaminates into the atmosphere and into groundwater

• “produced water” is left in ponds that will inevitably leak or spill or sprayed on local roads

• multiple earthquakes are associated with fracking and csg globally

• toxic acid rain which strops paint off cars (Ph 4.36 McCarron)

• failure rates of gas wells increase each year

Agricultural Impacts

• contamination of water (flammable water) with toxic chemicals, leading to poisoning of livestock and contamination of our high quality agricultural industry products

• increase in groundwater and soil salinity

• depletion of groundwater

• contamination of water (flammable water) with toxic chemicals

Community Impacts

• immediate community impacts include division and mistrust, then falling property values as the industrial process occurs and health impacts start to bite, agriculture being impacted, followed by families being bought out under confidentiality agreements, and communities being closed or relocated.

• unconventional gas extraction has near universal local disapproval, is strongly resisted, and proceeding is against communities self determination


We need jobs but not ones which poison our children and destroy our future.


Where to look for more information

Lock the Gate, Australia



New York

United Kingdom


Now that you are at it – your support in shape of a comment and your signature is needed here as well:

Friends of the Earth’s petition: Ban UCG in Victoria


» Read more: Put a submission together and send it off before 10 July

Letter to Geelong Council

Alan Manson from Frack Free Grovedale sent the following letter to the Geelong Mayor and Councillors, asking whether City of Greater Geelong – now that the chamber unanimously has made a formal decision to reject fracking and call for a permanent ban on onshore gas extraction in the region – will be following up on this and submit an offical request for a permanent ban to state council before the government’s inquiry submission closing date on 10 July 2015.

Alan Manson wrote:

“Dear Mayor and Councillors,

On Tuesday this week, I sent an email to each of you enquiring whether Council planned to make a submission the government’s Parliamentary Inquiry into Unconventional Gas Mining (i.e. Fracking). So far, I have not received any response to my query.

Last Wednesday, I sent an email to my Ward Councillor – Andy Richards enquiring as to whether the councillors had received my email – but I have had no response. As there is a deadline looming, I am becoming concerned as to whether Council intends to provide a submission to the inquiry or not.

On Thursday, it was reported in the Geelong Advertiser that the Surfcoast Shire have “officially vowed to oppose unconventional gas exploration and mining” in the region; so the various anti-fracking groups within the PEP163 exploration area are wondering if the CoGG has any intentions of supporting the Surfcoast Shire’s position?

As the date closing date of Friday, 10th July 2015 for submissions to be lodged is not far away, our members are becoming concerned as to what Council’s position is regarding this matter.

Any indication you could provide to me about Council’s intentions here (at the earliest opportunity) would be most appreciated.

Kind regards,

Alan Manson
Frack Free Grovedale


City of Greater Geelong’s Manager of Environment and Waste Services, Rodney Thomas, replied on 26 Jun 2015 at 2:47 PM:

“Thanks for your query in relation to this inquiry. I can confirm Council is preparing a submission. This will be based upon the extensive community consultation and Council resolution from last year.

We have also provided our position to the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV), which represents local governments in Victoria. This will help form the MAV’s submission.”

Put a submission together and send it off before 10 July


We have til 10 July 2015 to write to the parliamentary inquiry why we don’t need unconventional gas companies in our backyard. As an individual, a business owner, as a group or family, you need to make a submission.

Below is a link that can help you write your submission.

This is so important, we can’t stress enough that each and every one of us must have our voices heard. The submission does not need to be long, it does not expect you to know all the answers, but merely a chance to express your concerns. How will it affect you, if the trucks start rolling in?

» Submissions can be sent via email:
or ESubmission on the website.

» Government website:

» Written submissions can be sent via post to: Keir Delaney, Secretary, Environment & Planning Committee Parliament House, Spring Street, Melbourne VIC 3002

NOW is the time to help stop this filthy industry

The following text is an email sent by Alan Manson, Frack Free Grovedale

The Fracking Inquiry and the campaign against it has just now in earnest.  If you don’t want Fracking to commence in Victoria, NOW is the time to help stop this filthy industry from getting a foothold into our communities.

Here is an email from Cam Walker from Friends of the Earth (FoE) who is steering this campaign forward.

I am willing to do all I can to support the FoE efforts by writing a submission to the Inquiry and by pestering the pollies about this – and I’m wondering if you are willing to help too?

If so, please consider doing the following:

1. Go to the government website to download the Terms of Reference for submissions to the inquiry here:  
It doesn’t have to be too long or detailed as it is really just a numbers game.

2. Put a submission together and send it off before 10th July 2015. 

3. Feel free to indicate to me whether you are interested in attending meetings with local politicians about this, and/or attending the public rally in Melbourne on 20th September 2015 – just for a start.

State enquiry into the issue of fracking

Straight after the Victorian state election, Minister for Energy, Resources and Industry Lily D’Ambrosio promised that the issue of social licence would be considered. But that is definitely not visible in the terms of reference for the enquiry, which the Victorian government published a couple of weeks ago.

Climate and anti-fracking groups stated outright that, “It looks like Lily has already been rolled – or succumbed – to the intense lobbying of the fossil fuel industry.”

Jane Morton from Victoria Climate Action Network has gone through the terms of reference text and highlighted the bits that seem to be put in for the community gas-resistance movement in green, and the bits that seem to be put in for the fossil fuel industry in yellow:

Firstly, here is what Lily D’Ambrosio said after the election:

“Labor is committed to the full moratorium on CSG, which will continue until a fully independent parliamentary inquiry has heard from the experts, reviewed the scientific evidence and consulted fully with the community,” Ms D’Ambrosio said. “It will remain in place until the science shows that it is safe and there is broad community support.”


“We are currently finalising terms of reference for the parliamentary inquiry which will be announced imminently,” Ms D’Ambrosio said in an email.

She said the government was also looking more broadly into the future of energy, “working with the industry and communities to explore future approaches to developing Victoria’s resources”, the statement said.

Earlier, the top Victorian public servant for the industry said the state’s blanket ban on onshore gas may not be lifted at the end of the yet-to-be-formed parliamentary inquiry.

Kylie White, deputy secretary for energy and resources, told a What about gas? event in Melbourne the moratorium continues until that inquiry is completed but that “doesn’t necessarily mean that at the end of the inquiry the moratorium is lifted.”

She said the inquiry would cover research, science and community views and the “social and regulatory arrangements of the industry.” The government would assess the report of the inquiry and “then some decisions will be made.”

Here is the ALP policy which they took to the election:

Labor recognises that the interests of the mining industry, the agricultural sector and the environment in the regulation of mineral exploration and mining and extractive industry operations must be equitably balanced.

Labor will:

• Introduce a comprehensive strategic land use framework that protects land which sustains sensitive rural and environmental land uses

• Require production of an environmental impact statement, based on clear legislative criteria, as a prerequisite for obtaining a licence for extraction, mining or major exploration

Maintain the ability for the Minister to exempt certain areas from exploration and/or mining licences

Maintain a ban on hydraulic fracturing during and prior to establishing a Parliamentary Inquiry into this and other mining processes and issues relating to unconventional gas exploration and mining

These are the enquiry terms of reference:

  1. the prospectivity of Victoria’s geology for commercial sources of onshore unconventional gas;
  1. the environmental, land productivity and public health risks, risk mitigations and residual risks of onshore unconventional gas activities;
  1. the coexistence of onshore unconventional gas activities with existing land and water uses, including —

(a)  agricultural production and domestic and export market requirements;

(b)  the legal rights of property owners and the impact on property values; and

(c)  any implications for local and regional development, investment and jobs;

4.      the ability of potential onshore unconventional gas resources contributing to the State’s overall energy sources including — (a) an ability to provide a competitive source of energy and non energy inputs for Victorian industries;

(b)  an affordable energy source for domestic consumers; and

(c)  carbon dioxide emissions from these sources;

  1. the resource knowledge requirements and policy and regulatory safeguards that would be necessary to enable exploration and development of onshore unconventional gas resources, including —

(a)  further scientific work to inform the effective regulation of an onshore unconventional gas industry, including the role of industry and government, particularly in relation to rigorous monitoring and enforcement, and the effectiveness of impact mitigation responses; and

(b)  performance standards for managing environmental and health risks, including water quality, air quality, chemical use, waste disposal, land contamination and geotechnical stability;

  1. relevant domestic and international reviews and inquiries covering the management of risks for similar industries including, but not limited to, the Victorian Auditor-General Office’s report Unconventional Gas: Managing Risks and Impacts and other reports generated by the Victorian community and stakeholder engagement programs.


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Inquiry amendments voted down by one vote

On 26 May 2015, the Greens amendments on the unconventional gas inquiry were voted down in the Victorian Parliament. The amendments were to include:
1. Looking into the benefits of a permanent ban on unconventional gas in Victoria
2. Looking into capacity of regulators to actually deal with this industry
3. Looking into costs of any clean up/spill/leak etc
4. Extend the dates by 3 months. They were initially brought forward and many people felt the timeline was too short for it to be meaningful

The Greens negotiated these amendments with Labor to get their support. Unfortunately these amendments lost by 1 vote. James Purcell and Labor voted for the amendments but the Liberals, Nationals, Sex Party, DLP and Shooters voted against.

Ellen Sandell, State Greens MP for Melbourne, wrote:
“We’ll be putting out some messages on social media about how we’re disappointed in the Nationals selling our rural communities, feel free to do the same or re-tweet or share our Facebook messages, which will be on my Facebook page.
The inquiry may begin tonight with the first committee sitting. We’ll keep you all informed on how local groups can be involved – we’ll need a big push from locals and experts to make sure the inquiry hears loud voices in favour of a ban. There’s still hope even though this is a small setback”

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Victorian Government Inquiry into Unconventional Gas

Friends of the Earth Melbourne wrote in an email:

“What we know

The state government’s promised Inquiry into Unconventional Gas has now been formally announced, with broad terms of reference (TOR). The final TOR will be determined by the committee. Significantly, it is a cross party committee (the  Environment and Planning References Committee from the Legislative Council [Upper House]). The Chair is a Liberal (David Davis), and there is one National (Melinda Bath), one Green (Samantha Dunn), three from the ALP (Gayle Tierney, Harriet Shing, Shaun Leane), an additional MP from the Liberals (Richard Dalla-Riva), and one MP from the Shooters Party (Daniel Young).

Work started by the previous government, into water tables and the community consultation process run by the Primary Agency, will be released as part of the inquiry.

The moratorium on CSG exploration will stay in place until the inquiry delivers its findings.

The interim report is due in September and the final report by December. (There is the possibility that the committee will amend this timeline if they are overwhelmed with submissions or information). Parliament will then need to consider the recommendations of the committee and make a final decision about how to proceed. This is likely to happen when parliament resumes after the summer break, in early 2016.

What we want

This is ultimately a political rather than technical issue, with the state government needing to decide on whether to allow the industry to proceed. The committee can recommend this, or recommend a ban or extend the moratorium, but the Andrews government will need to take the final decision.

Our aim is to:
• demonstrate that the UCG industry does not have social license to operate in Victoria,
• build the case to ensure the state government realises an onshore UCG industry will be negative for Victoria in environmental, social and economic terms,
• build the political will for the government to rule out any development of the industry here. We need to make sure this is supported by the other Parties, especially the Coalition, as the ALP does not have control of the Upper House. (…)

Keep in touch via Coal and Gas Free Victoria website and Facebook page. There will be regular updates.”

The above is an excerpt of a letter prepared by Friends of the Earth.

Read more:




» Sign the petition:

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Over the past 4 years, Friends of the Earth have worked with communities across southern Victoria to build a grassroots movement that has stopped the development of the unconventional gas (UCG) industry. Using the coal and gasfield free organising model, we have worked with 75 regional communities to develop local consensus that the community will oppose any new ‘greenfield’ coal or gas development.

Already 61 communities have declared themselves coal or gasfield free, with an average of 95% support.

Working together we made this an issue that mattered in the 2014 state election.

State inquiry underway.

We are now entering a new phase in the campaign, as the state inquiry promised by the ALP gets underway. FoE will be working to build the case for a permanent ban on UCG drilling. The interim report from the Inquiry committee is due on September 1.

We really need people to get active in coming months:

Please write a submission. We have until July 10. There is background information here. We are currently working on our submission and will post a model/ draft submission on the website shortly.

Please come along to the public hearings. We will post details on our website as they are announced.

Please sign our petition. We need to build the case that the UCG industry does not have community license to get established. One way you can do this is to send a clear message to the state government by signing our petition calling for an outright ban. This will be delivered to the Premier in September.

Please support our work. The next 6 months present us with our best chance ever of stopping the destructive UCG industry from getting established in our state. FoE is doing valuable work on a minimal budget, and we are getting results.

Imagine what we could do with a little more cash. If you can, please support our work with a tax deductible donation.

And please put this one in your diary: we will be organising a major community rally on sunday September 20 in Melbourne to show the massive community opposition to unconventional gas.

Bringing the campaign to the city

When we started the campaign against UCG in Victoria, we had a state government that didn’t care what urban environmentalists thought. So we re-focused our work onto regional Victoria. The results of this are plain to see in the moratorium on fracking and drilling approvals and the state inquiry.

To finish this campaign we must also re-focus on the city. We are looking for a small team of volunteers to work on a series of campaigns which aim to apply pressure to key MPs across Melbourne and regional centres.

Each mini-campaign will be targeted around that seat, but is likely to include community polling, local media and stunts, and MP visits. If you’d like to be involved, or would like further information, please email Cam.

Thanks for your efforts and support. Together we can stop this industry (and then there’s coal ….)

PS: you are probably aware that extremist elements in the federal government are currently trying to take our tax status off us. Given that more than 90% of our income is from tax deductible donations and grant funding, such a move will be absolutely disastrous for us.

We need your support like never before. Please donate today.

Film: Frackman

Trailer published on on 12 February 2015

“Frackman is a powerful, punchy and poignant documentary about the conflict faced by one unlikely Australian activist and communities of Aussies directly affected by the roll-out of the massive multinational coal seam gas (CSG) industry in Queensland’s rural heartland.

Small landowners and farmers – in towns such as Chinchilla – who are feeling sick from leaking gas are running the gauntlet of machines, pipes, and processing plants on the surface, while deep underground bore water becomes polluted and aquifers run dry.

At the centre of the drama is the life of one man – accidental activist Dayne Pratzky – who had intended to settle down on the land but instead becomes drawn into a fight for his own property rights and the rights of affected communities to stand up to the industrial machine. His only entitlement is to the first six inches of dirt beneath his feet – but no more.
The problems start when the CSG exploration teams are allowed onto the land and find gas reserves on it. At that point the landowner loses the right to prevent the onslaught of full-scale drilling. Featured in Frackman is the grassroots Lock The Gate movement that is trying to get whole communities and individual landholders to keep the exploration teams locked out.
The mechanised invasion is acutely depicted in Frackman, bringing home clearly the conflict between citizens and the industry. The film is a lesson in various aspects of activism, everything from petitioning, grassroots campaigning and the detailed tactical planning needed for direct action and active resistance.”
Excerpt of review in Shift Magazine

» More info on

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When the documentary film ‘Frackman’ was screened in Geelong, the screening was followed by three speakers:

Damien Marchant, Frack Free Moriac
Chloe Aldenhoven and Dom, Friends of the Earth Melbourne and Lock the Gate

You can listen to the speeches in The Sustainable Hour no 74

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Film: Voices from the gasfields

Reality in Australia. Watch this collection of interviews from Queensland:

Others – Victorians, Geelongians – should listen and learn, and not make the same mistake allowing this toxic industry to continue its dirty business.

“I have not seen another film like it, telling us, warning us how really dreadful life is living amongst the gas wells. I have a huge respect for the families in Australia that held onto their land and shared their stories with us.”
~ Pippa King, United Kingdom


» You can buy the DVD for £6.99 – and support the filmmaker, Ian Crane – here: