Category Archives: Campaign news

Permanent ban on fracking in Victoria

Media release 8 February 2017:

Victoria’s gas ban a win for environment, farmers and democracy

Today the Lower House of the Victorian parliament is debating the Resources Legislation Amendment (Fracking Ban) Bill 2016, which will permanently ban fracking in the state.

This debate is unusual, because the ALP, Greens, Coalition and minor parties have all announced their support for the ban. “This highlights the massive community opposition to onshore gas drilling in Victoria” said Friends of the Earth co-ordinator Cam Walker.

“This ban has been delivered because of an inspiring and determined community campaign. Over a period of five years, 75 regional communities declared themselves gasfield free. Regional communities refused to accept this destructive industry. Sustained opposition forced the main political parties to shift their position, and led to a state inquiry, which in turn delivered the ban commitment.”

“The Greens supported the ban from day one of this campaign. The ALP held the state inquiry and introduced the legislation. We must acknowledge the leadership of Minister Lily D’Ambrosio on this issue while the ALP was in opposition, the hard work of the Minister for Resources Wade Noonan, and the willingness of the Premier, Daniel Andrews, to listen to the community. A range of MPs from The Greens, ALP, Coalition and Shooters Party put in a huge effort during the state inquiry. And of course this outcome has only happened because of determined, sustained and strategic campaigning by many thousands of people and the 75 gasfield free communities who were the backbone of the opposition to fracking” said Mr Walker.

“This is a wonderful victory for the community, for farmers and the climate. In a time where there is ever greater cynicism about party politics, this shows what is possible when ordinary people get organised and work together for the greater good.”

“It’s an incredible day for so many communities like ours across the state, we have all worked so hard together to get to this point and it feels amazing” said Gayle Margaret, Mirboo North resident.

“Today’s history making legislation to ban unconventional gas and fracking secures my grandchildrens clean, green future in this state and l couldn’t be happier,” said Trevor Jennings, Geelong resident.

“We hope this permanent ban – the first one in Australia – will provide inspiration to other Australian states and territories who are fighting the same battle” said Mr Walker.

Cam Walker, Campaigns co-ordinator, Friends of the Earth




30 August 2016:
In a national first, the Andrews Labor Government today announced a permanent ban on the exploration and development of all onshore unconventional gas in Victoria, including hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’) and coal seam gas.

The permanent legislative ban, to be introduced to Parliament later this year, will protect the ‘clean, green’ reputation of Victoria’s agriculture sector, which employs more than 190,000 people. This will provide much-needed certainty to regional communities.

Minister for Resources Wade Noonan confirmed it was visiting communities and seeing the huge impact fracking was having and the potential destruction of agriculture that confirmed for them only a total ban was appropriate. He also said a moratorium on conventional gas would allow proper scientific studies on the potential risks, in particular water pollution risks.

The announcement went global and actors like Mark Ruffalo and Susan Sarandon tweeted about the ban.


We got ourselves organised
This didn’t just happen. This is the result of a tireless effort of hundreds of anti-fracking activists working with determination and as a team. Cam Walker from Friends of the Earth Melbourne wrote: “This outcome happened because ordinary people across the state got themselves organised – and stayed organised. The 75 gasfield free communities were the cornerstone of this campaign.”

So first of all a big thank you to everyone in Geelong and in Victoria who supported the anti-fracking campaign!

It is a great example of how we, the people, the ordinary citizens, can make change and create a better, safer and cleaner world – even at times when we are up against powerful industries that really couldn’t care less about anything else than their own profits.


Thinking the unthinkable
This decision announced today gives hope for many more good things to come. It still won’t happen without us stepping in, though.

If four years ago we hadn’t ‘thought the unthinkable’, things would never have come to this. We would not have seen this fantastic outcome if a group of determined residents had not got themselves organised – and stayed organised.

So it is time for Geelong region to get into thinking some more ‘unthinkable’ thoughts now, like for instance:

• Unthinkable thought #2: Geelong region powered by 100% renewable energy.

• Unthinkable thought #3: All local councils signed onto AND actively following One Planet Living principles.

• Unthinkable thought #4: Hundred of thousands of people signing the #climateemergencydeclaration petition on www.climateemergencydeclaration.org/petition2
– … Feel free to add!


Update
Ten days after Daniel Andrews had announced Victoria’s policy — a first for any Australian state government — he travelled to Moriac, in the South Barwon electorate, to commend those who lobbied for the ban.



» More photos on Facebook


Thank you

Please make an effort to thank Premier Daniel Andrews and Resources Minister Wade Noonan for making this forward thinking and environment protecting decision enacting the ban. For instance, you could retweet Friends of the Earth’s tweet:

www.twitter.com/FoEAustralia/status/770379050955046912

or post your own, e.g.:

Thank you @DanielAndrewsMP & @wadenoonan for listening to the community! #VicGasBan announced! Please get onto the Premier’s Facebook page and share his post about the ban and thank him.

Show your support for the ban by writing to the newspapers, commenting on articles – e.g. this one in The Weekly Times – and this one in Geelong Advertiser – and calling in to talk back.


» The Premier’s statement on www.premier.vic.gov.au

» Friends of the Earth Melbourne’s reponse: Communities applaud Premier Andrews decision to ban unconventional gas mining and fracking










Noonan - Marchant
Resource minister Wade Noonan and Alison Marchant www.twitter.com

Audio excerpt: Interview with Alison Marchant

11 minute live phone interview with Alison Marchant, Frack Free Moriac, about the new permanent fracking ban in Victoria

“What a day! Victoria is now frack free! It has been a long 3 & a bit years. At the start when we learnt about fracking, we discussed moving. But decided to stay and fight. Sometimes it felt like the world was against us. Sleepless nights and a few tears. But my faith has been restored today. Community banded together and our ripple turned into a wave. Then it was up to convincing the right decision makers. Some more receptive than others. Some listened and some pretended to listen. These MP’s made a stand. They didn’t sit on the barb wire fence.

@DanielAndrewsMP Shaun Leane Lily D’Ambrosio @JaalaPulford @harrietshing @wadenoonan

In addition I haven’t done this alone, family and friends (new and old) have supported me all the way. Damien Marchant speech writer Nomore Coalorgas my partner in crime. Cam Walker ninja! Kristin Morris cheerleader and now tweeter! Sammi Penning and Ian my go-to rocks! And all gasfield free community go-getters. Ursula G Alquier gippsland warrior.

I may be a bit philosophical tonight, but today was momentous. I can now tell the kids, I gave it all, stay and fight for what is right. #vicgasban
Alison Marchant



Alison Marchant’s husband, Damien Marchant wrote on his Facebook page:
“Hi all, I guess I’m feeling a little reflective at the moment.
As you all know Ali and I have been involved in the anti fracking campaign for about 4 years and abit over a week ago we won.
From that the greatest thing that I have taken out this is the importance of community.
Community gives us all a sense of belonging and inclusion. It gives power to our voice, strength to our arguments and most importantly it provides support to each other and assistance to those who need it. I feel honoured and proud to be part of our strong community.
I am also extremely humbled to be married to such a remarkable woman and community builder, Alison Marchant. To tell you I love you never seems to even scratch the surface of my emotions for you, thankyou for being you. Whoever knows you cannot help but love you.”








“This is a testament to the power of determined, creative, respectful community-driven activism. Years of it. Stand down tireless warriors Chloe, Ursula G Alquier, Cam Walker, Nicola Paris, Quit Coal crew and the countless numbers of people in threatened communities who stood up to insidious industry pressure. What a fully shining example you’ve set for a powerfully growing global movement.”
Deborah Hart




Speeches in the Victorian Parliament can be found from page 41 of Hansard and then again from page 69.

Good to have a read through and to send messages of thanks to those who spoke in its favour!

The Premier’s address on 8 February 2017:

“I am delighted to rise to speak on this important piece of legislation today. I could not be prouder than to lead a government that is putting before this house and indeed the other place — this Parliament — a law to protect our clean, green image, a law to protect our primary producers, our farmers, our exporters, a law to protect our good name and good standing in international markets right across the world, a law to protect jobs, investment and confidence.

But today is not a day for the politicians to be taking credit, although I am sure some opposite will tell you that they were the architects of this bill, that all good things can be traced back to those opposite if only you spend long enough doing that tracing. This is not a day for politicians to be taking credit. This victory — and that is what it is — is a victory for common sense. It is a victory for jobs right throughout Victoria. It is a victory for farmers, for environmentalists, for activists, for ordinary Victorians. It is their victory because they said, ‘We will not stand for being ignored any longer. We want what we value protected. We want what every Victorian should value protected, and we want our voice heard’, and that is exactly what we delivered.

Whether it be farmers and environmentalists from the Otways, from Gippsland, from every part of our state, and not just from regional Victoria— as beautiful and important as regional Victoria is to the soul of our state, the production and economy of our state, our story and our meaning and purpose for the future— many people in metropolitan Melbourne have been just as passionate about these issues.

What they have said to me and what my government has said is that there is no splitting the environment and the economy when it comes to these issues. There is no splitting those two things because they are the same thing, and if you are prepared to compromise safety, certainty, our image, the health of our communities, the health of our natural environment, then you will pay a very significant economic price. It is not one that I am prepared to pay. It is not one that regional communities are prepared to pay. It is not one that this government is prepared to pay.

Others have a different view, and when they take a break from trying to claim credit for things they had nothing to do with, they turn around and start bagging those very same things they pretend to have actually delivered. That is not leadership; that is fraud. That is what that is. It is fraud, but the problem for those who operate in that way is that it is all too obvious. Chief among that list are people who would say they are great listeners, they are great people who support primary production, who support the environment, people who used to get around with a leather jacket on, used to get around with a conscience, used to get around with a ‘Don’t you know, you’d better watch out for me, because I’m right in the middle and I’m going to deal with all the truisms of politics. I can bring appeal from everywhere’. That thesis is not going so well at the moment.

Chief among those who just do not get it on this issue are the Prime Minister and his energy minister, Mr Frydenberg, because they are out there today saying that this legislation to ban unconventional gas extraction for all of our state now and forever is somehow wrong and that we should be ashamed of ourselves, that it is the wrong thing to do.

I will say to all members assembled here and for Hansard for all time that if anyone in the coalition, state or federal, is in any doubt about the community’s views on this issue, I am happy to take them to one farm after another, to one community after another, to one family after another, and hopefully they will hear the message that I have heard — that is, that this precious environment, our precious economy, all that we should cherish and hold dear are not worth gambling with. They are not worth risking, and they are certainly not worth trashing by putting up dangerous wells wherever you can see.

We are having none of that. We are having none of that in our state, and some can sit smugly thinking that they can walk both sides of the street on this issue.
No, you cannot. There might be some who will have three positions. They will say it was their work, when of course it was not. They will bag it simultaneously, and then they will cleverly just wave it through the Parliament thinking that will allow their rampant hypocrisy to go unnoticed.

Well, no, I am afraid we are onto you, and so is the community. The fact of the matter in the history of this state, once this bill passes this place and the other, is that it is a Labor government that has delivered this outcome, a Labor government that has listened to communities and a Labor government that proudly says, ‘Do not take your time to thank us’. No, thank the communities who have fought for this outcome. Thank the communities who said, ‘We will be ignored no longer. A moratorium? Not good enough. We want certainty. We deserve it, and we want a government that will deliver that’.

They are the people that should be congratulated. They are the people who should be so very proud as they listen to this debate today and in the days to come.

I want to thank my honourable friends the Minister for Industry and Employment and Minister for Resources, and the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change — the first time we have ever seen those portfolios combined, and what a great job she is doing in relation to those matters— and every member of our team that has made sure they played their part as champions for their local community and in making sure that I understood.

Little did they know that I was getting plenty of representations from lots of good people without the representations they were making, but everyone did their job to make sure that we understood that this was a change that had to be made.

Too much was at stake to allow this to go on, and I just say thank you to everybody in the government for the work that they have done and to the department. The consultations have been unprecedented.

Again, he is not here to defend himself, but I will make the point that we did not go and get a certain former federal minister, not well known for consultation, to go out and run a sham consultation. We did it properly. We did not get Balaclava Pete to come out and do the sort of consultation that only he could do. We did not do that”
Daniel Andrews


Mr M.O’Brien interjected.

Mr ANDREWS — “Well, are you for this or against it? That is a question for you.”

Honourable members interjecting.

The SPEAKER — “Order! Government members will come to order.”

Mr ANDREWS — “Are you for it or against it? That is the question for you, my friend. You can keep interjecting all you want, but my microphone is on and yours is not, so keep it up.”

“The question for you is: are you for this or against it, or are you sitting there pretty well on your own as you are?”

Mr M.O’Brien interjected.

Mr ANDREWS — “There will be a vote, will there? There will be a vote apparently. I sincerely hope so.”

Honourable members interjecting.

The SPEAKER — “Order! Government members will come to order, and the Premier will continue through the Chair.”

Mr ANDREWS — “If there is a vote, we will be able to see who is actually for and against protecting our environment, who is for and against protecting our economy and who is for and against listening to our communities and acting in their interest and who, quite frankly, is all over the shop and a disgrace. We will be able to see that. There are no members of the National Party here.”

Mr McGuire interjected.

The SPEAKER — “Order! The member for Broadmeadows will resume his seat.”

Mr ANDREWS — “Interesting. Others can judge those who are serious about these matters and those who are frankly frauds when it comes these matters. I will leave it to the good judgement particularly of regional Victorians. They can pick someone who might qualify as a fraud a long way off. I can tell you that. I think it is fair to say they see those opposite coming. The final point… ”

Mr M.O’Brien interjected.

The SPEAKER— Order! The member for Malvern will come to order.

Mr ANDREWS — “‘Sunshine’, he is calling me. Mate, there would be no sunshine if it was up to you. Heaven knows where we would be. I am very proud to have you interject on me. I am very proud to have the member for Malvern opposed to me, because I reckon if the member for Malvern is against it, it is probably a good thing. They do not come any better than this bill, and I urge all members to support its urgent passage.”

The bill is expected to pass unamended.


Media release from Wad
Media release from minister Wade Noonan

Fracking ‘politisised’

Media release from Victorian recourse minister Wade Noonan on 31 August 2016:

LIBERALS AND NATIONALS ALL OVER THE PLACE ON FRACKING
After years of Coalition inaction, indecision and infighting on onshore gas in Victoria, the deep split between the Liberals and the Nationals is once again on show following yesterday’s historic announcement by the Andrews Labor Government.

In a national first, the Labor Government is introducing a permanent ban on the exploration and development of all onshore unconventional gas in Victoria to provide much needed certainty for regional communities.
The Liberals were quick off the mark to criticise the announcement for “shutting the door on future exploration of conventional gas,” despite their previous policy of a moratorium until 2020.
That’s a clear sign the Liberals are making policy on the run and renouncing their own policies.
Meanwhile, in a short statement not published online, the Nationals leader Peter Walsh was busy trying to claim credit: “Daniel Andrews has followed The Nationals’ lead in announcing a permanent ban on unconventional gas, including fracking and CSG activity, in Victoria.”
In fact, the Nationals had signed up to the 2020 moratorium, not a ban on fracking.
These conflicting statements speak volumes about the deep divide between the Nationals and the Liberals on one of the biggest issues affecting regional Victoria.
Will the Nationals stand up for country Victoria, or will they support the Liberals calls for more uncertainty, indecision and inaction?
It is clear that the Victorian community has spoken – they simply don’t support fracking.
The Labor Government is calling on the Nationals to stand up for country Victoria and declare their support for legislation that will be introduced into Parliament later this year.”










Read also

» Geelong Advertiser – 9 September 2016:
Premier Daniel Andrews hails Victoria’s fracking ban a win for people power


» Weekly Times – 9 September 2016:
Delayed celebration for Victorian gas ban as Daniel Andrews meets anti-gas groups


» Counteract – 30 August 2016:
6 things that won the #VicGasBan


» Weekly Times – 30 August 2016:
Victoria bans unconventional gas mining forever





Pleased to say that this is probably the last post you will see from Frack Free Geelong.



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.

Sept-20-Frack-rally-poster_

“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.”

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
Convenor
Frack Free Grovedale
www.facebook.com/frackfreegrovedale

SurfcoastShireSubmission_1024





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

URGENT – WE NEED YOUR HELP!

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: epc@parliament.vic.gov.au
or ESubmission on the website.

» Government website: www.parliament.vic.gov.au/epc/article/2636

» 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: www.parliament.vic.gov.au/epc/article/2636  
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.



Party at Council meeting this Tuesday?

Be a part of it! Geelong turns a page for renewables!

On Tuesday, Geelong’s Environmental Management Strategy based on the One Planet Living principles is expected to be approved and launched. Will you join us for a celebration on the steps of City Hall before Tuesday’s Council meeting?


“The only true ban on fracking is to build the alternative – democratic, renewable energy.”
Josh Fox, American musician and documentary film maker



Just two weeks ago we witnessed a remarkable decision when the City of Greater Geelong councillors unanimously determined they would take a very strong position against onshore gas extraction.

Eight councillors spoke against fracking during the meeting. Cr Jock Irvine led the way by proposing a motion that would ask not only for an extension of the existing moratorium, but for a permanent ban on fracking, as a petition of 1,170 Geelong residents had requested.

Several councillors talked warmly about investing in renewables, and it was decided that council will “write to the Victorian and Federal governments requesting support for the development of renewable energy sources to replace fossil fuels in the provision of heating, cooling and power.”

Cr Rod Macdonald said that it is the time to look to the future and not backwards: “It is very apparent around the world that the renewable energy movement is well and truly on,” he said.

“We look across the world and see the restrictions being placed on fossil fuels, and I think it says to us the time for us now is to invest in renewable industry and not the industries of the 18th and 19th centuries. I think it is time to send a message. This municipality can be amongst the leaders to say that we want a renewable sector developed, and we want it now!

We have been so encouraged by this decision and such positive comments about renewables we think it’s time for a celebration. Let’s give the councillors a pat on the back and see where we can take Geelong too from here.

Can you be there on Tuesday to encourage more positive steps forward from our Councillors?

WHAT: Sustainability Celebration at CoGG Council meeting
WHERE: The steps of City Hall, Little Malop Street, Geelong
WHEN: 6.30pm, Tuesday, 28 October 2014
RSVP: Please RSVP so we know you are coming
BRING: Party mood, cake, home-made windmills, balloons… or an idea of your own!

New strategy for Geelong

This particular council meeting is important because councillors are also expected to endorse a new Environmental Management Strategy which includes One Planet Living principles, as well as making decisions about Future Proofing Geelong partnerships which support the continuation of the city’s low carbon growth plan.

We want to celebrate the Council’s recent achievements and encourage much more in the near future. We have an opportunity to see Geelong transform into a 21st century smart city. We just need to give our leaders a push in the right direction.

If we have to have a giant Christmas tree let’s at least make sure it’s a solar powered one!

See you Tuesday at 6:30pm.

PS: We could really use your help getting the message out about this fun event. Can you help us share this event on Facebook?
Please forward this email on to your friends, family and colleagues.

» Retweet this tweet


Bring your own windmill

how-to-make-windmill

» Use this pinwheel pattern (PDF) to build your celebration turbine


See the strategy document

If you live in Geelong, you can obtain a hard copy the Environment Management Strategy 2014-2017 from Councils Environment department. You can also download a digital PDF copy:

» Download the strategy document (PDF, 4.5MB)

» Download as Word-document

» Council’s web page about the EMS:
www.geelongaustralia.com.au



Gas: “Good news for Geelong”?

Did you see the full page ad which “the voice of Australia’s oil and gas industy” put in Geelong Independent this week?

GI_appea-advertisement-page10_hires

If you don’t agree that gas mining and fossil fuels are “good news for Geelong”, then this is the perfect time to get up from the couch and join us at the City Hall to support Council in its new anti-gas position.

If you would like to donate a financial contribution to a full-page ‘counter-ad’ about clean energy in Geelong Independent, then send us an email with your expression of interest.



Geelong rejects onshore gas extraction and supports permanent ban

On 14 October 2014, City of Greater Geelong Council made a formal decision to reject fracking and call for a permanent ban on onshore gas extraction in the region. In an Australian fracking-context, this is big breaking news: with a population of 215,000 residents, Geelong now takes a leading position among Victoria’s 29 self-declared “gasfield free” zones.

Geelong wants a permanent ban on fracking. Citizens express their concerns with petition of 1,170 signatures and numerous meetings, and on 14 October 2014, the City of Greater Geelong Council decided to listen to the community and took a very strong position – unanimous in the chamber – against onshore gas extraction.

The Geelong Council’s decision didn’t happen out of the blue. Several Frack Free groups in the region have been campaigning hard with film evenings, information nights, photo shoots, social media and radio shows, letterboxing, a survey in four communities, a petition, radio program, and an endless streams of letters, media releases and newsletters over about a year’s time, culminating with a one-month submission process in Council, where Council received 447 submissions against fracking and only one in defence of it.



Duty of care
Eight councillors spoke against fracking during the debate at the council meeting. Cr Jock Irvine did a wonderful job in leading the way by proposing a motion that would ask not only for an extention of the existing moratorium, but for a permanent ban on fracking. 

“We have had a clear message sent from the community and we have a duty of care,” Cr Irvine said.

» Geelong Advertiser published a detailed report on the debate in Council.

» Council meeting minutes

» Audio interview with Cr Andy Richards, Environment and Sustainability Portfolio holder, about the Council decision.




South-west Victoria communities acknowledged in the Senate

Moment of joy
The photo above shows part of the approximately 20 citizens who had come to attend the council meeting, listen to the councillors debate and learn what they would decide on.

This was a moment of joy after a long grass roots campaign. After a lot of hard work with informing everyone, we now have got a very strong position – with both Council and community on the same front – to advocate to state and federal government that we want a permanent ban on fracking in Victoria.

In legal terms, fracking is still a state government issue in Victoria, and all Geelong Council can do, really, is come with some recommendations and send some letters. Even so, that is an important step in the right direction even so, in particular right before a state election.

Just last week, the State Government launched a website with a map where citizens who are uncertain as to whether their property may be located in a specific area allocated to a mining lease, can look up the details. What this website-launch indirectly tells us is that the Government is still quietly going ahead with more of its plans to mine for gas.

However, with citizens and Council united on this issue, we can work and stand together and support each other. Lakes Oil and whoever is thinking of starting fracking in Geelong region, including on the Bellarine Peninsula and in Surf Coast Shire and the Otways now will have to think about whether it will be worth the effort for them. Because they know what they can expect …if they really have the guts to show up with their drilling gear here.

Important breaking news from the evening in City Hall was how the renewable energy investment issue was being discussed among the councillors in a new and positive way.

“This municipality can be amonst the leaders to say that we want a renewable sector developed, and we want it now,” Cr Rod Macdonald said.

This sounded promising for the municipality’s Environmental Management Strategy which allegedly is now ready to be put forward to Council in two weeks. On 28 October the council is expected to launch its new Environment Management Strategy which is based on the One Planet Living principles, one of which is the Zero Carbon principle.

» More about this topic here.


The City of Greater Geelong has now committed itself to lobby the State Government against any attempts by the gas mining industry to establish mining in the region. If the State Government chooses to override Council’s position (say next year), then local protest action will be needed to stop the trucks rolling into the region. 

Until then, we will enjoy the break while we can.

Thank you to those who sent in a submission, and especially to those who have supported the call to assist in attending the various rallies, photo shoots and meetings. Your contributions have resulted in a great result so far.


Media coverage

Capture1

» Geelong Advertiser – 17 October 2014:
City slams door on fracking
Article by David Cairns



Capture

» Geelong Advertiser – 17 October 2014
Council spot on with gas decision
Letter to the editor by Vicky Gosser



GI_gas-blocked16-10-2014

» Geelong Independent – 16 October 2014



GI_Lee_turning-off-the-gas16-10-2014

» Geelong Independent – 16 October 2014
Turning off the gas
Letter to the editor by Lee Gladwell



» The Sustainable Hour on 94.7 The Pulse – 15 October 2014:
Your council is prepared to evolve. Are you?
“In the 47th Sustainable Hour, we report from the meeting on 14 October where Geelong Council unanimously voted to advocate for a permanent state ban on fracking.” Podcast by Mik Aidt and Anthony Gleeson. Audio interview with Cr Andy Richards about the Council decision.



» The Weekly Times – 15 October 2014:
Geelong council wants a permanent ban on onshore gas and fracking
Article by Cimara Doutré


» Bay FM – 15 October 2014:
Geelong council rejects fracking
Article by Rebecca McDonald


» Geelong Advertiser – 14 October 2014:
Geelong councillors say no to fracking
Article by David Cairns




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“Democracy is the big winner in this – without such extensive community involvement, the result could well have been different. Now let’s giddyup & work together to have Geelong lead Oz into a post carbon world. With the old foundations of Shell, Ford & Alcoa gone or going, a golden opportunity awaits us via a clean energy driven transformation.”
Anthony Gleeson, commenting on Geelong Advertiser’s story



Petition of 1,180 voices against fracking

On 14 October 2014, Chris Johnson and Anthony Gleeson handed over Geelong and districts’ petition favouring a total ban on fracking with 1,180  signatures to Mayor Darryn Lyons.

“This is the culmination of countless hours of work by very dedicated and concerned citizens of Geelong. Much appreciation to Friends of the Earth, Yes2Renewables, Quit Coal and Lock the Gate Alliance for their invaluable mentoring and for the overwhelming support of the Geelong and district communities who have drawn their line in the sand,” said Anthony Gleeson.

“Now all we need is for CoGG councillors to heed the advice given to  them by their staff and vote fracking down tonight at their meeting tonight,” Chris Johnson added.


» Photos in high resolution are available here

» Read the media release




Comments to Geelong Councillors

from 250 concerned citizens of Geelong


There is too much evidence showing that fracking affects the water table and pollutes water supply. The product (coal seam gas) also pollutes our environment, and the drilling rigs themselves are an eyesore. It’s also offensive that citizens most affected seem to have no say in whether these exploration rigs (and subsequent infrastructure) can invade their community.

Louise Segrave, Highton, 3216 – Australia – 2/16/14

 

I disagree with the further development of any fossil fuel based energy. We need to invest that money in new safe sustainable technologies, not short term quick fixes that are potentially risky, and keep us dependent on an outdated and polluting industry.

Ben Nunn, Geelong West, 3218 – Australia – 2/16/14

 

Our water and air quality are a higher value than financial profits!!!

Diamond Jim Legend, Corio, 3214 – Australia – 2/16/14

 

In a country where we often face water shortages it cannot be a good idea to poison our water supplies. Also this does not help tackle climate change. We need to start investing in renewable energy.

Benjamin Sexton, 3218 – Australia – 2/16/14

 

Fracking threatens our water and farmland for a product that should now be obsolete. Energy from the sun and wind is 21 Century thinking!

Judy Cameron, Otway Ranges, 3241 – Australia – 2/16/14

 

I live here and wish to protect the health of my area, my community, my family and myself!

Liz Hines, HightonVIC, 3216 – Australia – 2/16/14

 

Lots of Ford workers out of work now. Ford closed shop because to pay 3 x as much for gas for their operations to meet export parity was uneconomic. A lot of families are hurting in Geelong now because of these non local gas companies – and to add insult to injury they want to frack the Otways – the main water supply for Geelong City and poison us as well. Will they compensate or take responsibility for this? I dont think so. Frack Off Lakes Oil!!!

Katherine Marchment, Melbourne, 3122 – Australia – 2/16/14

 

csg and shale deadly SCAMS to hit Australian shores, radioactive water, fires, drought 9 million gallons of fresh water per well ?

Jane Hughes, Brisbane, 4054 – Australia – 2/16/14

 

This is a “no-brainer” that’ s why!

Ingrid Hindell, Geelong North, 3215 – Australia – 2/16/14

 

Coal seam gas mining has not been proven safe and would be irresponsible to approve it in the Geelong region. There is too much evidence of water damage. If we want more energy, we should be focusing on the renewable energy that is available right now.

Gavin Brown, East Geelong, 3219 – Australia – 2/16/14

 

“In addition to the damage done to the natural environment(water, land, air) & the health of humans & all other living things, there’s the moral obligation which comes from supporting the demands of the latest peer-reviewed climate science which is screaming out that we must leave all fossil fuels in the ground.

With the old guard of Ford, Shell & Alcoa leaving the area, it’s a golden opportunity for CoGG to forge a clean energy future. Out with the toxic past – in with a clean energy, job rich, community building future.”

Anthony Gleeson, Geelong, 2472 – Australia – 2/17/14

 

Coal seam gas mining has not been proven safe and would be irresponsible to approve it in the Geelong region. Also it’s another non-renewable resource and a fossil fuel causing a variety of environmental damage issues when mined and burned. Through good design, simpler living and creativity we can reduce our need for energy which I see as the prime goal together with a variety of other solutions including using renewable energy options. Ensuring that all new buildings are passive solar is probably the single best thing we can do…free energy from the sun which when combined with storing it in thermal mass e.g. concrete slab, allows for free heating through winter…our highest energy use in Victoria.

Monica Winston, Belmont, 3216 – Australia – 2/17/14

 

The context for this discussion is decisive! Climate change, ecosystems needing regeneration, species extinction etc. The other point is that this is not a short term problem so we’ll need to come up with solutions that allow for the needs of other species and future generations to thrive. Also who is the proposed consumer of this gas? Is it for local communities or are we proposing to sell it to overseas consumers…helps determine what strategy i.e. is it an energy issue or for private economic interest?

Monica Winston, Belmont, 3216 – Australia – 2/17/14

 

Because we have seen what is happening in the US this is no different no matter how much spin they put on the difference. Just do the research. Big money is destroying our land and I for one love this country. Go away Big Money. Greedy disgusting people who don’t care for anyone or anything but their fat bank accounts.

Timi Bell, Lismore, 2480 – Australia – 2/17/14

 

Permitting fracking, with its attendant potential to pollute underground water, is something which must be resisted throughout Australia.

Hugh Nicholson, The Channon, 2480 – Australia – 2/17/14

 

Internationally fracking has been shown to cause damage to agricultural lands, aquifers, and water supply amongst other environmental pollutants. Victoria, and in particular the South Barwon region makes up the food bowl for Australian domestic and export produce markets. To destroy it and our economy for access to gas by a few companies does not constitute short term thinking and not a vision for a successful economy or future.

Suzette Jackson, Geelong, 3218 – Australia – 2/17/14

 

Fracking destroys our environment

Lorna Martin, Whittington, 3219 – Australia – 2/17/14

 

It is our God given duty to look after this earth and fracking can only destroy it

Beverley Harris, Drouin, 3818 – Australia – 2/17/14

 

There are plenty of alternative, renewable energy sources to be explored before fracking. This is the dirtiest of the lot, dangerous to communities and totally unnecessary.

Sam Smith, barwon heads, 3227 – Australia – 2/17/14

 

FRACKING or QGC have already poisoned my water & air

john jenkyn, 4413 – Australia – 2/17/14

 

The future is important for all humans. This practice (fracking) is all about quick profit and nothing about looking after our natural services. Aquifer Water basins and the communities they support depend on this renewable resource totally. Any practice whereby injecting hydrocarbon carcinogens into the areas nearby water aquifers is about as stupid as it gets. Get real and send a message to the swine who want to force this toxic process into our backyards.

Mark Hardley, 3228 – Australia – 2/17/14

 

Why risk exposing our drinking water and precious farm land to hazardous chemicals from Fracking. It’s just not worth it – you can’t eat or drink oil and gas. We have the clean technology solutions to make move on from fossil fuels, we only lack the political will.

Daniel Cowdell, 3216 – Australia – 2/17/14

 

Because I care about the future of this country and am horrified to see the unprecedented rush to destroy our beautiful home for export / multi-nationals. We are the driest inhabited continent on earth. What a disgrace.

Carly Woodstock, Alstonville, 2479 – Australia – 2/17/14

 

Because fracking is temporary profits for permanent damage.

lindsay smith, ocean grove, 3226 – Australia – 2/17/14

 

We need more renewable energy, not more fossil fuels.

Steve Williams, Clifton Springs, 3222 – Australia – 2/17/14

 

The potential for damage to the environment caused by fracking is too great a risk to take. Our environment is fragile and must be sustained for your children and grandchildren and all future generations. If we continue to choose greed over conservation, there will be no future.

Karen Moran, Geelong, 3216 – Australia – 2/17/14

 

Fracking is environmental vandlism and should not be encouraged, especially in an era where governments purportedly champion “sustainability.”

gary oraniuk, geelong west, 3218 – Australia – 2/18/14

 

This is important to me because I still have grave concerns about the safety of coal seam gas mining and I live in the Geelong area

Andrea Buckley, Geelong, 3215 – Australia – 2/18/14

 

Total Ban on fracking is important to me because I love the land and care about my environment. Please do not let it happen.Sincerely Diane Morris

Diane Morris, 3101 – Australia – 2/18/14

 

Communities have a right to determine what goes on in and around them. The future of towns and their sustainablility extends to what industries exist therein. CSG extraction is not a sustainable way for towns and communities to be given jobs, ‘growth’ or ‘economically sustainability’.

Sophia Christoe, 3070 – Germany – 2/19/14

 

The future for the Geelong region is clean green renewable energy. Natural gas is a non-renewable greenhouse gas, which we should be phasing out rather than phasing in

Dave Campbell, Geelong, 3215 – Australia – 2/19/14

 

Because fracking is a completely uncontaminated method of mining, making our towns sick.

Damien Marchant, 3240 – Australia – 2/20/14

 

We need to to substantially reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and move to renewable energy. It’s critical for the future of this planet earth. The scientific evidence on this is very clear.

Wendy Marchment, 3216 – Australia – 2/23/14

 

Greed!! Government, Council and and Business. Find another way.

Anonymous, 3018 – Australia – 2/25/14

 

This is a national health, land use and repercussion disgrace.

Shirley Parsons, 3220 – Australia – 2/26/14

 

Don’t tamper with our environment !!!

JO CANT, 3222 – Australia – 2/26/14

 

this is important because this is about the future of our lands’ capacity to continue to support the life it currently sustains

fleur monteith-brique, 3215 – Australia – 2/28/14

 

Don’t do it CoGG, please! Do you really want Geelong – Anglesea to end up looking like Tara in Queensland? Do you really want to be responsible for adversely impacting so many peoples lives? Read about what it’s like for people living on the gas fields, there is so much information out there. Find another way, please!

Naomi Betts, 3352 – Australia – 3/1/14

 

Our water resources must be protected for this and future generations.

Debbie Carruthers, 3880 – Australia – 3/19/14

 

I care for the environment and fracking destroys the enviroment

Margaret Huber, 3215 – Australia – 3/28/14

 

I am concerned about the environmental impact this will have on our doorstep. The damage it will do to the natural environment (water, land, air) & the health of humans that live in the vicinity.

Wolfgang Klemenz, 3215 – Australia – 3/29/14

 

Fracking is just one more unsustainable way to continue raping the earth in search of non renewable energy sources. All this leaves behind is a polluted environment, destroyed communities, richer and more powerful corporations. It doesn’t make sense to continue on this path we need to move to renewables!

Ernesto Sanchez, 3219 – Australia – 3/31/14

 

It is imperative that we take a stand in Victoria now, to safeguard the health of our waterways, our land and air, our people and our ecosystems. We cannot sacrifice our landscapes to invasive industrial gasfields.

Jennifer Carter, Tambo Upper, 3885 – Australia – 3/31/14

 

Fracking is a huge unknown. We have no real understanding of the long term consequences. Make Geelong a hub of new sustainable technologies and a proud, innovative frack free zone.

April Baragwanath, Geelong, 3220 – Australia – 4/3/14

 

It is about time the message was sent to our governments that cheap and easy energy is much less a future priority than sustainable and reliable locally grown food supply in and from a healthy environment.

Gerhard Grasser, Darnum, 3822 – Australia – 5/4/14

 

Australia does not need fracking, more coal mines or any shale oil developments. These are old technology,too polluting and unnecessary.The beautiful Victorian countryside needs to stay that way.

Angela Fyfe, Beaudesert, 4285 – Australia – 6/3/14

 

There is not enough known abut what the long term effects of fracking will be for our future water table and rivers. We have plenty of alternatives to choose from with wind and solar energy and there is no need to destroy our farming country for the energy that will be taken by a few and sold to many, this is just greed

Lyn Keynes, Ocean Grove, 3226 – Australia – 6/9/14

 

This impacts our future forever.

Belinda Harding, 3000 – Australia – 6/9/14

 

There is ample documentation about the ecological damage that this process causes. We should be pushing our resources towards alternative energies rather than allowing the short term profits for those involved in the mining and coal industries

Anna Hurley, 3000 – Australia – 6/20/14

 

Fracking will poison our freshwater supply and then all of us will be in REAL trouble. This is life or death so wake up!

Elfian Schieren, Goonellabah, 2480 – Australia – 6/24/14

 

Geelong is my home, we are raising a family here. Fracking is a risk I don’t believe we should take.

Rachel Burke, Highton, 3216 – Australia – 7/27/14

 

We only have one planet and our children need to have hope for a clean healthy future.

Cathy Marshall, Geelong, 3222 – Australia – 7/30/14

 

I am signing this petition because I care about the community of Geelong & our environment & dont want it wrecked for my grandchildren. Fracking is totally unacceptable for Geelong and every other community. It has caused untold damage around the world. We dont want it in Geelong.

Lynley Manson, Geelong, 3216 – Australia – 7/31/14

 

Unconventional Coal Seam Gas Mining is the dirtiest and most environmentally destructive industry on earth. It should be closed down.

Alan Manson, 3216 – Australia – 7/31/14

 

“Onshore Gasfields are not compatible with agriculture, clean water, fresh air.

The short term benefits of extracting this gas for an overseas market is far outweighed by the long term consequences that all Australians will have to live with if it occurs.”

Billy Fox, 3305 – Australia – 8/3/14

 

I love my country and my Family, I don’t want to see the destruction that is caused from the extraction of CSG,,, I don’t want to lose our lucky country

Rhonda Mitchell, Portland, 3305 – Australia – 8/3/14

 

Poisoning and depleting our water table and rivers is criminal and insane. No water equals No life. It’s that simple.

Samantha Shepherd, 2455 – Australia – 8/3/14

 

 

 

we do not want gas running through our water pipes

Anne Berry, 3305 – Australia – 8/3/14

 

We are responsible for the health of our children. We also cannot live on ground or use water that is contaminated with chemicals unless we are willing to sacrifice our health and well being. No amount of money or jobs are worth this!

Patricia Rennhackkamp, Lara, 3212 – Australia – 8/3/14

 

it is very important, so we can keep Victoria and other beautiful regions pollution free

kayleen rundell, 3305 – Australia – 8/3/14

 

Unconventional gas has the potential to harmall of Victoria. It must be stopped.

Sue O’Shanassy, Torquay, 3228 – Australia – 8/3/14

 

Fracking is destroying our future. It only exists for financial reasons. We need to start making more intelligent decisions around our impact on the planet we depend on for survival.

Paul Forest, 2454 – Australia – 8/3/14

 

There isn’t a more blatant form of destructive mining i can think of. Only an idiot can’t see how bad this is.

wayne philp, 5291 – Australia – 8/3/14

 

Because i believe tracking would have an totally detrimental effect on the environment and living conditions of Victorians for lifetimes to come

Paddy O’Brien, Melbourne, 3280 – Australia – 8/3/14

 

We studied and lived in Geelong and on our many return visits, we’ve been so impressed at the way the city has developed – please keep it family friendly and attractive to visitors, and take a stand against invasive, polluting gas fracking!! Stand up for the community and stand up for the future!!

Kate Ralton, 5290 – Australia – 8/3/14

 

The infamous industry wants to take away any possibility of us being self-sustaining, and domestic gas will cost the earth, all for the benfit of overseas corporations.

roma guerin, alexandra, 3714 – Australia – 8/4/14

 

Absolutely NO – ONE knows what affect fracking will have in the future. Are we that desperate that we have stopped thinking about the horrible possibility that the after effects of fracking could, quite literally, blow up in our faces at a later date? THINK!!!!

Christine Arnel, 3300 – Australia – 8/4/14

 

I have friends and relations in Geelong, so naturally I don’t want them to be harmed by franking.

Mark Taylor, Tyrendarra, Vic., 3285 – Australia – 8/4/14

 

b/c our future is important!

caz shannan, portland victoria, 3305 – Australia – 8/4/14

 

For Life is important to me than death.

Suzanne Edge, 2456 – Australia – 8/5/14

 

Victoria provides most of the food for the whole of the East Coast. Whay would you threaten a major food source by allowing fracking?

Jeanette Geelen, West Perth, 6008 – Australia – 8/6/14

 

Fracking is like biting off the hand that feeds us and poisoning the life spring of our future generations. Just plain stupid – come off it!!

kerryl dingey, Newtown, 3220 – Australia – 8/7/14

 

this is so important to me as my ancestors are buried in and around the Western District and I do not want thier burial sites damaged,,

gavin couzens, Geelong, 3216 – Australia – 8/7/14

 

Please do not contaminate our and our children’s water supply and the air that we breathe.

Martin Rennhackkamp, Lara, 3000 – Australia – 8/7/14

 

This issue should be of paramount importance to everyone. Don’t frack our land, there is no profit to gain, the international city Mayor Lyons is proposing will be in name only. House prices will fall, say goodbye to housing investment. You will also increase earthquakes, loss of water, cancer and environmental destruction to name a few. End this now.

Andrew Brique, 3215 – Australia – 8/7/14

 

do not destroy the health of nature for short term gains

berne nightingale, durbanville, 7551 – South Africa – 8/7/14

 

I live in an area where fracking may be present. Scenic Rd.

Kau Gibbons, 3216 – Australia – 8/8/14

 

Fracking is unethical and an environmental vandalism with no benefit to the community, only to a limited few. There can be no reason to support such short sighted destruction.

Kyla Vinton, TORQUAY, 3228 – Australia – 8/8/14

 

likely to cause problems to our land

neroli hawhtorne, 3216 – Australia – 8/9/14

 

This issue is important to me because i values the natural environment and industries that support environment. this industry continues to demonstrate practices opposing both of these.

Frances Kelly, PortlandVI, 3305 – United States – 8/9/14

 

Clean Water for All

David Lovelight, Byron Bay, 2481 – Australia – 8/10/14

 

Totally against mining in general, especially Fracking…they know the chemicals are toxic, their CEO’s etc don’t want this near their own places, doesn’t that tell you something?

Mick Smith, South Toowoomba, 4350 – Australia – 8/10/14

 

I’m unconvinced that fracking poses no environmental risks. Prove to me beyond any doubt that it’s safe before you risk my country !!!

Jonathan Jennings, South Yarra, 3141 – Australia – 8/10/14

 

This is important to me because I care about the future of the Geelong region and want it to retain it’s natural charm. The risks involved in fracking seem far too great and there seems to be little reward for those who actually live in the area.

Dianne Robinson, Geelong, 3216 – Australia – 8/10/14

 

Geelong is my home town and deindustralisation doesn’t have to mean that our next industry be mining for the benefit of overseas consortiums and bribed and bribing politicians with no thought of the great travesty of poisoned land air and water and a dead community they leave behind. CSG will kill my children, make my house worthless, poison local produce and eternally poison ground water. CSG is a loaded gun pointed at the head of the earth and all it’s inhabitants, short-term gain for eternal devastation and destruction

Eilish De Avalon, Highton, 3216 – Australia – 8/11/14

 

Our water is finite. Fracking takes much and fouls it. Also causes fracturing of and destabilising

Sandra Camm, Geelong, 3216 – Australia – 8/11/14

 

Sustainability for our childrens future!

Adam Haack, 3220 – Australia – 8/12/14

 

There is nothing good about CSG industry.It’s too risky! They have left enviromental disasters in every country that they have been in for decades to come! They need to be stopped!City of Greater Geelong needs to be like our shire. On Tuesday night 26th August 2014 our shire declared “That the Glenelg Shire be an Unconventional gasfield free zone” Motion was passed unanimously by the Glenelg shire council.

Garry Everett, 3304 – Australia – 9/5/14

 

Destruction of land and environment.

Gail Barton, 3216 – Australia – 9/9/14

 

Clean water and a healthy environment matter to me.

Glenys Parslow, Geelong, 3220 – Australia – 9/11/14

 

Fracking is stupid, dangerous, poisonous and short sighted.

Miriam Robinson, North FitzroyVA, 3068 – United States – 9/11/14

 

Because fracking is decimating our water supply and polluting our environment for a short-term gain.

Carietta White, Melbourne, 3001 – Australia – 9/11/14

 

Only people who support fracking are those profiting from it

Nicole Rowan, Hamlyn Heights, 3215 – Australia – 9/11/14

 

Why is the health of the planet important to me? Please!

Bree Schembri, Highton, 3216 – Australia – 9/11/14

 

I’m signing because our environment needs defenders.

jill hyslop, torquay, 3228 – Australia – 9/12/14

 

Fracking causes long term damage that has little chance of recovery !!!!

Ken Clissold, 3219 – Australia – 9/15/14

 

No fracking for Geelong Keep our environment safe clean and free from human interference.

Melva Russell, 3216 – Australia – 9/15/14

 

It’s will destabilize the geology of the area.

Robyn Schmidt, Grovedale, 3216 – Australia – 9/15/14

 

We need a clean liveable environment – fracking does not do this

Louise Pattinson, 3216 – Australia – 9/16/14

 

Once you pollute our waters we can’t turn back. These chemicals are poisonous to humans and livestock

Wendi Fraser, Ormond, 3204 – Australia – 9/16/14

 

We moved back from overseas to bring up our children in Geelong and we do not want their health, or ours, jeopardised because of fracking.

Allison Sinclair, 3216 – Australia – 9/17/14

 

I do not think it is healthy for the planet or the people I am strongly against this practice and if you really cared about your children you’d stop this madness !

kris heather, queenscliff, 3225 – Australia – 9/17/14

 

Renewable energy is far more important to our future than ruining our environment to sell our resources overseas.

Lesley Whitlock, 3216 – Australia – 9/19/14

 

disagree with the process and possible outcomes

colleen seeley, 3218 – Australia – 9/23/14

 

Fracking has the huge potential to adversely affect the nearby communities and businesses, not to mention it still being a polluting industry contributing to the massive issue that is climate change.

Samuel Pottenger, Richmond, 3121 – Australia – 9/23/14

 

Geelong is my home town and It should stay a safe family town where the people and community are out first

Amy-Beth Seeley, 5066 – Australia – 9/24/14

 

Fracking has not been proven safe, so why not chose renewable and sustainable options instead? I don’t want our futures jeopardised.

Johanne Walker, 3216 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

Fracking has caused significant problems elsewhere in the world and in other Australian States. Our farmland and our water is of paramount importance in the years ahead. There is no absolute answer that both of these will not be adversely affected by fracking. There is too much at stake to risk what we have.

Kate Tubbs, Bacchus Marsh, 3340 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

I am concerned about the potential health ramifications

Ian Priddle, Geelong West, 3218 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

It’s not worth taking the risk

Emma Balkin, Geelong, 3218 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

If we all considered the environment before the $, we would all be living simply so others could simply live!

Kim Kemerer, 3212 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

we don’t want chemicals injected into our soil, and farming land cleared.

Goshen Watts, 3216 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

Fracking is too scary. Water is life, fracking threatens water.

John Nicholson, 3216 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

Our voices HAVE to be heard

Rhonda COWLEY, 3216 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

modern world we should learn that this is bad and money is the root of all evil

sarah bridges, Geelong, 3213 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

I don’t want gas fracking to poison our land and use vast quantities of fresh water in the process.

Danielle Netherclift, St Kilda, 3182 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

Don’t want our and our children’s water and air contaminated

Martin Rennhackkamp, Lara, 3212 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

Our environment and our health is in danger if this isn’t stopped!

Cassie Calleya, 3226 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

Fracking will wreck the soil and the water in the area

Nicoline Griffin, Clifton Springs, 3222 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

Fracking is irresponsible.

Samuel Cowan, 3121 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

To keep Geelong frack free!!

Nicole Jones, 3219 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

I do not want fracking done as it is known to cause issues with ground water, and has links to health risks. Lets focus more on energy that doesnt kill us

Adam Kardas, 3220 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

I want a clean future with clean energy.

April Meddick, Torquay, 3228 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

i don’t want this in Geelong

Gay Gold, 3219 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

I don’t want to sacrifice food and water security for gas. In fact I’ve learned how to make my home gas free and cheap to run.

Sandra Hawkins, Canadian, 3350 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

Fracking is the worst idea EVER!

Eve Fisher, TorquayVIC, 3228 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

This seems like total insanity to even think of fracking after what has happened elsewhere, surely we wouldn’t let this happen?

Tabitha Lowdon, 3230 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

Because I care about the area for future generations

Meg Rawley, 3228 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

I have children and I want them to have an inhabitable planet for thier future.

Julia Chandler, CORIO, 3214 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

Don’t do permanent damage to our underground water. Don’t risk methane coming up without being collected. Make a clear stand before unconventional gas mining can get any momentum.

Jan van Dalfsen, Newport, 3015 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

Because it is important for my future

Meg Rawley, 3228 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

I want fresh water not fracked water. No to ruining Geelong.

Ali Milner, Bell Post Hill, 3215 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

This is a no brainer, people! Have you read and seen the consequences?

celia bolton, 3228 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

Prove to us that you care more about the people who live in Geelong, visit Geelong and to the environment than money!

P Mantle, 3220 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

Cracking is devestating to peoples, communities land & the environment

Jess Dorney, 3233 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

“I do not want to see this region of rural Victoria ruined by fracking. Farmlands would be lost, air/land/water pollution would increase drastically and the quality of life for those of us living in this zone would fall. There are alternative,clean sources of energy which we should,as a state,be implementing (i.e. solar and wind energy) and which would have far less negative impact on the environment,if any. Please do not allow fracking to take place,here or elsewhere. ”

Patricia Grey, GrovedaleVIC, 3216 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

I love and respect Australia’s environmental landscape.

Leah Martini, BrightonENG, BN1 6HF – United Kingdom – 9/25/14

 

CoGG should ban fracking – it is not wanted!

Belinda Harding, Newcomb, 3219 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

Fracking contaminates ground water.

Michael Kelly, Geelong, 3219 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

Renewables is what we must invest in to combat climate change pollution.

erica vernon, jan juc, 3228 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

Solar and wind are the only safe energy sources – that’s where we need to be investing. Fracking is environmentally UNSAFE!!

LINA LIBROAPERTO, AIREYS INLET, 3231 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

“CSG mining pollutes our ground water and destroys our environment ”

James Anderson, 3226 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

It would be crazy and short sighted in many ways to allow fracking in the Geelong region.

Malcolm Ayles, Grovedale, 3216 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

Environmental destruction..

Dale Hovey, 3219 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

I don’t believe that fracking is a reasonable option for sourcing energy resources. Our water table is too important to risk and renewable options are the ONLY way forward.

Leah Boucher, 6442 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

I’m signing because I believe in a future for humans hundreds and hundreds of years from now, and for that we need our earth in a liveable condition!

Tegan Bert, Werribee, 3024 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

fracking is irresponsible and incredibly damaging for the environment!!! How many mistakes have to happen before people wake up to this!!!

Justin Harbison, 3215 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

We have our permanent home in Geelong, as do most of our family. I have seen no evidence that Fracking in the long term is safe for the environment. what is done cannot be undone – and the results of damage are not known often for quite some time into projects. Then they are permanent. We need sustainable energy options, not less and less viable fossil options.

Erica Thompson, 6728 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

Fracking ruins the environment, why ruin the environment?

Erin Campbell, 3216 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

Please ban fracking. We don’t need it and we certainly don’t want it.

Kirsty Watkins, 3222 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

There is no need to run the environmental risks for this short term gain. Renewables should be the focus in this modern age.

Tim collyer, 3228 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

the environmental impact of fracking is too damaging.

Rikki Bandekow, Ocean Grove, 3226 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

“FU Corruption Follow ME Geoff Thomson SON of a WAR “”HERO””

Not a “”POMMY”” sell OUT”

Geoff Thomson, Port Darwin, 834 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

I breathe oxygen therefore I oppose fracking, anywhere, anytime.

Tiffany Paterson, Melbourne, 3215 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

Although I live here, It is important that this criminally destructive method is stopped everywhere. It is only for the profit of a very small few at the cost of everyone. I want my children to have a planet to live on.

Alan Netherclift, Elwood, 3184 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

It is bloody obvious why it is Important to everyone.

cathy Barker, New Zealand, – New Zealand – 9/25/14

 

Protect our beautiful city by the bay. Protect our people. No fracking now or in the future.

Thea Carbines, Geelong, 3215 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

I am 100% opposed to fracking

Carolyn Anderson, 3228 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

I don’t want fracking!!

Shane Elevato, Lara, 3212 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

Fracking is dangerous to ground water; damaging of productive farmland and all to produce a short-term ‘fuel’ that is not a bridge to renewables but a highway to hell…

John Knox, Airport West, 3042 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

I don’t believe that fracking is good for the environment & is only a quick fix to human need at the time & not thinking about the future if our earth for generations to come

alison enders, 3219 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

Do not release poison…

Benjamin Tehan, Geelong, 3215 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

Because we don’t have the right to endanger water supplies for future generations.

eric oliver, cannonvale, 4802 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

I’m a concerned citizen.

Philip Enders, 3219 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

I am signing because I believe we should be focusing on the development if renewable resources instead of pumping our underground aquifers with 1000’s of chemicals and ruining farm land by pursuing fracking.

sonja Gwosdezki, Aireys Inlet, 3231 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

All power to your campaign from Stop CSG Sydney (which stopped the test drill site in inner west Sydney). We want the PEL covering 4 million people to be cancelled. And we want more councils to support the campaign too. Freezing old licences is not enough. We want certainty; they have to be cancelled.

Pip Hinman, SydneyNSW, 2042 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

fracking fractures land, livelihoods and lives.

Deborah Kairn, 3175 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

This is were I live & I dont want money-hungry mining companies affecting me & my fellow Geelong-ites’ water, food & recreation opportunities

Angela Smith, 3216 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

i do not agree with fracking stall!

Karen Ray, Torquay, 3228 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

there are too many unknowns about fracking, it has too much potential to permanently harm our environment

Kerrie Williams, Torquay, 3228 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

Fracking presents environmental risks.

Helen Ramsay, 3216 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

Fracking present environmental risks.

Donald Ramsay, 3216 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

Fracking presents environmental risks.

Peggie Ramsay, 3216 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

we only have one planet frack it and you’ll f****ck it

Cheryl Canning, Sydney, 2037 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

the long term damage fracking causes for the community is far more than the wealth it tries to create for the companies engaged in this venture

will blackwell, 3219 – Australia – 9/25/14

 

I want to see a shift to renewables and I am concerned about the effects of franking on our land and water. Not worth the risk!

Annie Malesic, Montmorency, 3094 – Australia – 9/26/14

 

I care about my immediate environment.

Haneesh Hanewsh, 3218 – Australia – 9/26/14

 

We should be exploring and using renewable energy sources not raping and polluting the Earth which we live on and eat and drink from!

Bonnie Edwards, 3222 – Australia – 9/26/14

 

Geelong & Victoria must stay Fack Free….it’s a no brainer….we need to focus on sustainable, renewable socially conscious industry, this will destroy our state & country’s water, land, economics, job prospects, tourism, agriculture, people’s health & property values

Lynn Hofmann, 3220 – Australia – 9/26/14

 

I do t want our sub soil and layers destroyed, polluting waterways and causing wide spread immeasurable harm. No Fracking!

Jodie Whittaker, 3220 – Australia – 9/26/14

 

I want to save the world!

Eileen Jenkins, 3223 – Australia – 9/26/14

 

It will devastate the water table, our drinking water, our health, the environment and wildlife. It will effect tourism in the Otways change the landscape, removing trees will cause all erosion, more pest weeds and animals and a very unpleasant area to live in. Money can never compensate for a healthy environment, something future generations can never reverse. I take no part in supporting you and any future fracking.

katy rowland, 3222 – Australia – 9/26/14

 

“For the future of my grandchildren and great grandchildren and all their generations.

Why damage our country more when alternate power from wind and the sun is available. Why damage our agricultural industries just to support overseas financial interests. ”

Beatrice Kenyon, 3223 – Australia – 9/26/14

 

I am against Gasfield invasion and industrialisation of regional NSW.

Carlos Vieira-Silva, 2480 – Australia – 9/26/14

 

I have a voice

Melissa Smith, 3216 – Australia – 9/26/14

 

Why destroy the land in order to produce energy? Renewables are the way to go!

Shay Goossen, 3228 – Australia – 9/26/14

 

I want cogg to support renewable energy, not fossil fuels that can have significant and long term detrimental impacts on our environment.

Leon Heffer, 3218 – Australia – 9/26/14

 

I’m singing because I care about the environment being protected .

Vikki Davey, 3228 – Australia – 9/26/14

 

Fracking endangers the health of the community. The damage to our beautiful environment, let alone the health of the community would be tragic.

Madeline Avene, 3214 – Australia – 9/26/14

 

Fracking causes serious environmental issues, victoria should be looker toward a future of greener energy sources.

carly sutherland, 3223 – Australia – 9/27/14

 

The onshore gas industry destroys farming, is dangerous to health. Their high export prices for gas will be passed on to all of us and will probably be the last nail in the coffin of Australian manufacturing.

Ben Courtice, 3340 – Australia – 9/27/14

 

More poison Darren – please don’t have this in your brief, and therefore history and reputation – dangerous poisons for this City you are gearing toward tourism

Carol Glasgow, Geelong, 3216 – Australia – 9/27/14

 

To me the health risks seem way too high, and who knows what the long term issues will be, possibly contaminated ground water for a very long time. This is unacceptable

Lyle Zanoni, 3226 – Australia – 9/27/14

 

We need to look at the long term picture.

Jennifer Hornsey, South Geelong, 3220 – Australia – 9/28/14

 

To prevent ground pollution

Chelsea Gielen, 3216 – Australia – 9/28/14

 

I have a moral obligation to protect the environment I live in.

Emma Carter, 3240 – Australia – 9/29/14

 

I care about the environment and the future of our beautiful beaches.

Barbara Alexander, 3158 – Australia – 9/29/14

 

fracking is a men made disaster and it is up to the human race to stop it ….unlike others nature disaster

daniele voinot-sledge, kingscliff, 2487 – Australia – 9/30/14

 

“I’m signing because I don’t believe there has been enough study into the repurcussions of cracking

Also I believe citizens rights outweigh the rights of corporations”

Robert Groth, Gunnedah, 2380 – Australia – 9/30/14

 

Learn as much as you can before blindly trusting csg industry

Daryl Morris, South Hurstville, 2221 – Australia – 9/30/14

 

I’m a resident of Torquay

Jasmine Arthur, 3228 – Australia – 9/30/14

 

i want my water to remain pollution free

rebecca draper, 3228 – Australia – 9/30/14

 

We should be looking at renewable power sources. Fracking is incredibly harmful to our health and the environment.

Kate Miles, Canberra, 2906 – Australia – 9/30/14

 

I’m opposed to humanity misusing and destroying natural resources particularly in Australia where our land mismanagement makes me weep. When I travel overseas & nationally the wonder of Australia amazes me- we truly live in a wonderland & it’s destruction for shortsighted gratification is to everyone’s detriment.

Ciri Thompson, 3189 – Australia – 9/30/14

 

Fracking destroys communities and the environment. We don’t need fossil fuels enough to die for them. Fracking has no place in modern society especially so close to home!

Aaron Parsons, 3029 – Australia – 9/30/14

 

Fracking will destroy our coastline, vegetation, livestock, wildlife and water supply. I can’t believe this kind of destruction goes on in the world and even worse our country leaders allow it to happen. Its a disgrace.

Angie Vendy, 3228 – Australia – 10/10/14

 

Of evidence

Sam Walsh, 2087 – Australia – 10/10/14

 

I’m signing because fracking is senseless, dangerous and is environmentally devastating

mary graham, 2107 – Australia – 10/10/14

 

The long term destruction to the environment and inhabitants far out weighs the short term monetary gains of conglomerates. Politicians need to look at the big picture of humanity and not just the money.

margie skimming, Highton, 3216 – Australia – 10/12/14

 




Geelong Council to make a decision about fracking

On the next ordinary meeting of Geelong Council – which is held on Tuesday 14 October 2014 at the Council Conference and Reception Centre, City Hall, Little Malop Street, Geelong, commencing at 7:00pm – councillors will make a decision on the municipality’s official stand on fracking.

We hope to see many of our region’s fracktivists attending this meeting.

Geelong Council received a total of 449 submissions about fracking. Of these 447 were opposed to onshore gas extraction and in particular the use of hydraulic fracking. 10 of the submissions were included in the agenda document for the councillors to read. See below.

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The following is the recommendation from council staff which the 13 Geelong councillors will be voting on at their meeting:

Greater Geelong City Council – 14 October 2014
Agenda for Ordinary Meeting
SECTION B – REPORTS – Page 35

ONSHORE GAS EXTRACTION REPORT

Portfolio: Environment and Sustainability – Cr Richards
Source: City Services
General Manager: Gary Van Driel
Index Reference: Mining/Extractive Industries, Minerals

Purpose
The purpose of this Report is to inform Council of the results of the onshore gas extraction submissions process as well as provide Council with recommendations regarding this matter.

Summary
• For many decades, Victoria has had access to low cost electricity and gas, which has provided a major competitive advantage and underpinned its strong and diverse economy. Natural gas accounts for 19 per cent of all energy used in Victoria.

• With the completion of new large scale export facilities, domestic consumers will compete with international consumers for gas. It is expected that the price of gas will significantly increase to approach international prices.

• Victoria has no coal seam gas (CSG) production or confirmed resources but there are a number of licences for exploration, one of which includes areas within the City of Greater Geelong.

• The Victorian Government has put a halt on approvals for new CSG exploration licences and approvals and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) a technique used to stimulate hard-to-reach gas deposits.

• Council has received a significant amount of feedback on Council’s Draft Environment Management Strategy regarding the potential impacts of coal seam gas, tight gas, and shale gas fracking within the municipality including its environment, agricultural land and land access issues on CSG mining on private land.

• At the 22 July 2014 Ordinary Council Meeting it was resolved that a 30-day process be commenced to educate Council on the issue of ‘fracking’, and that this process will be followed by Council taking public submissions on the issue of Coal Seam Gas Extraction and in particular, the ‘fracking’ process, for a period of one month commencing 25 August 2014.

• A Briefing Note and Information Pack were prepared to assist Council, in-line with the Notice of Motion, and the Manager Stakeholder and Community relations from Clean Coal Victoria section of the Department of State Development, Business and Innovation presented at the Councillor briefing Session on the 19th August 2014.

• A total of 449 submissions were received. Of these 447 were opposed to onshore gas extraction and in particular the use of hydraulic fracking.

• The primary concerns in the submissions opposed to onshore gas extraction and hydraulic fracking were contamination of land, air and water, health concerns, noise pollution, decrease in property values and the need to utilise renewable energy sources.

• Only one detailed submission was forthcoming in support of onshore gas extraction.


Recommendation
That Council:

1) note the high number of submissions received opposing onshore gas extraction and hydraulic fracking;

2) write to the Victorian government requesting an indefinite extension to the existing moratorium until;

a) the Victorian Government carry out extensive community consultation in potentially affected Geelong communities and;

b) undertakes research into any potential social, economic and environmental and health impacts of unconventional gas exploration and development; and

c) there is broad community support for the development of an onshore gas industry; and

3) write to the Victorian and Federal governments requesting support for the development of renewable energy sources to replace fossil fuels in the provision of heating, cooling and power.


Background
For many decades, Victoria has had access to low cost electricity and gas, which has provided a major competitive advantage and underpinned its strong and diverse economy. Natural gas accounts for 19 per cent of all energy used in Victoria. With the completion of new large scale export facilities, domestic consumers will compete with international consumers for gas. It is expected that the price of gas will significantly increase to approach international prices.

Victoria has no coal seam gas (CSG) production or confirmed resources but there are a number of licences for exploration, one of which includes areas within the City of Greater Geelong. The Victorian Government has put a halt on approvals for new coal seam gas exploration licences and approvals and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) a technique used to stimulate hard-to-reach gas deposits.

Council has received a significant amount of feedback on Council’s Draft Environment Management Strategy regarding the potential impacts of coal seam gas, tight gas, and shale gas fracking within the municipality including its environment, agricultural land and land access issues on coal seam gas mining on private land. At the 22 July 2014 Ordinary Council Meeting it was resolved that a 30-day process be commenced to educate Council of the issue of ‘fracking’, and that this process will be followed by Council taking public submissions on the issue of coal seam gas extraction and in particular, the ‘fracking’ process, for a period of one month commencing 25 August. A Briefing Note and Information Pack were prepared to assist Council, in-line with the Notice of Motion and the Manager Stakeholder and Community relations from Clean Coal Victoria section of the Department of State Development, Business and Innovation presented at the Councillor briefing Session on the 19th August.

Discussion
A total of 449 submissions were received during the 1 month submission period. Of these 447 were opposed to onshore gas extraction and in particular the use of hydraulic fracking. The submissions ranged from simple one line statements to lengthy multi-page submissions. A sample of the submissions is included in Appendix 1.

Copies of the submission have been made available to Councillors.

The primary concerns listed in the submissions opposed to onshore gas extraction and hydraulic fracking were contamination of land air and water, impacts of groundwater, health concerns, noise pollution, decrease in property values and the need to utilise renewable energy sources rather than fossil fuels. A summary of the comments regarding these concerns is as follows;

a) Contamination of land, air and water
Submissions raised concerns that contamination of land, air and water would occur via the use of chemicals and waste by-products, including saltwater and methane. Submissions were concerned about accidental chemical and waste spills, inability to store and dispose of waste products. Of particular concern was the use of hydraulic fracking and associated use of chemicals which are injected into the ground and which may migrate into groundwater.

b) Groundwater impacts
Submissions stated that significant amounts of water are required to enable hydraulic fracking and it was not known where this would come from. It was also submitted that use of water for the onshore gas industry would complete with usage for other activities including farming and domestic supply.

c) Health concerns
Concerns were specifically raised regard the use of BTEX chemicals (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes) in the fracking process. These compounds are some of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in petroleum derivatives such as petrol (gasoline) and have potential health impacts1.The Victorian government has recently banned the use of BTEX chemicals used in the process of hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’ to extract coal seam gas. Submissions highlighted concerns regarding air pollution caused by methane leakage from onshore gas extraction. Concerns were also raised regarding noise from truck movements, drilling, machinery and other processes, particularly in rural environments. Submissions highlighted the risk of accidents occurring and the potential damage that these might cause and the difficultly in cleaning up chemical spills.

d) Decrease in Property Values and other land uses
Submissions raised concerns about the potential negative perceptions of supporting an onshore gas industry (fossil fuel) in the Geelong region. It was felt that this would be to the detriment of the regions tourism and agricultural sectors. It was also submitted that the development of an onshore gas industry would decrease property values and only bring short term profit to large international companies.

e) Utilise renewable energy
Many submissions stated that Geelong should be moving away from fossil fuels and supported the development of renewable energy sector. This would provide the platform for future economic and job growth for the region as well as decrease environmental impacts.

The only detailed submission in support of onshore gas extraction submitted that there were many benefits of natural gas usage in Australia, proposed that many attending recent anti-fracking rallies were from ‘other areas’ and put forward views and ‘facts’ about natural gas extraction

This submission put forward the following to support the extraction and use of gas;
• Natural gas has been drilled since 1947, first in the USA, then Canada, Europe and Australia, without environmental calamity.
• In Australia, gas extraction activities have been studied by health, environmental and regulatory bodies in Queensland, NSW and WA, as well as Federally. Study is underway in Victoria. No State in Australia, or overseas, has banned natural gas drilling.
• Natural gas drilling can and does co-exist with agriculture – most notably in Queensland and in Camden in NSW (on the southern outskirts of Sydney).
• Farmers do benefit from hosting natural gas wells. More than 5000 land owners have entered into commercial agreements with gas drillers in Queensland alone.
• Regional centres benefit from gas resource development, in local employment, service delivery businesses and direct spending by companies and workers
• The gas industry brings substantial economic benefits for land holders, communities and the nation, without compromising other industries, including tourism.
Queensland expects to be the country’s highest growth State in 2015, on the back of the gas industry.
• More than 40,000 people are employed in the gas industry in Queensland alone.
• Billions will be paid nationwide in taxes and royalties in 2015 and beyond.

Environmental Implications
The full environmental impacts of onshore gas extraction are likely to be unknown at this stage. There are risks associated with any industry, particularly those in rural areas, and the extraction of natural gas has the potential to result in land, air and water pollution. It should be noted however that strong regulations and implementation of best practice techniques, and technology can substantially reduce any risks. Natural gas (methane) is a greenhouse gas and its usage will contribute to increases in greenhouse gases within the atmosphere which may result in climate change and other impacts.

Financial Implications
There are no direct financial implications on Council as a result of the recommendation in this report

Policy/Legal/Statutory Implications
The state government ultimately determines whether the development of an onshore gas extraction industry will proceed

Alignment to City Plan
The recommendations in this report align with supporting our community to live sustainably under the Sustainable Built and Natural Environment pillar.

Officer Direct or Indirect Interest
There is no officer direct or indirect interest in this report.

Risk Assessment
Many submissions advocated that Council should adopt a precautionary risk based approach regarding the development of an onshore gas extraction industry. Further work is required to assess the potential environmental and health risks.

Social Considerations
There is considerable community concern regarding the potential impacts of onshore gas extraction, including the use of fracking in the Geelong region.

Human Rights Charter
There are no human rights charter issues resulting from the recommendation in this report.

Consultation and Communication
Council has conducted an engagement process which has yielded over 400 submissions, Council has been provided with information and material relating to onshore gas extraction and had a presentation from State government representatives.

Council’s position on onshore gas extraction will need to be reflected in its Environmental Management Strategy, currently in draft form. Community engagement has been extensive.

(1) www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/dc6c0439-ac47-4c53-981a-
876fa8d8e6d4/files/report6-appendices.pdf


Example submission 1;

Dear Councillors,

There are a number of issues to be considered, these include

Potential damage which is caused by the use of rural, conservation or open space land for fracking purposes will be irreversible. There will be no going back to the original condition of the land when the gas is exhausted. Natural justice would indicate that clean air, water and access to privately owned agricultural land and public open space is a right. The legislation which allows an industry the absolute right to whatever is underneath a landowners topsoil without the permission of the owner, appears to have been suitable for the 1800,s but certainly not appropriate in the 2000’s. It is therefore urged that Council strongly opposes fracking in general within its boundaries.

XXXXX urges that COGG Council join with Surf Coast and other regional councils to lobby Government to extend the moratorium in perpetuity and protect Victoria from this damaging and polluting industry. It is understood that the companies concerned will produce gas for export, which will cause a rise in local gas prices, (perhaps not understood by gas supporters).

Hazards which may result from the fracking industry include –

• Excessive use of water in the fracking process with the potential for a shortage of potable water for Geelong and district

• Impossibility for storage of the ‘waste water’ from the process of fracking, which is highly polluted with chemicals and cannot be returned to rivers or streams or placed in storage dams. No solution to this problem has been achieved.

• The potential for groundwater to become polluted from the introduction of water laced with chemicals used to achieve the fracturing of the rock areas. Groundwater is a valuable asset and no potential risk should be allowed.

• The potential for methane to be released into the atmosphere

• Loss of agricultural land for food production or natural areas and public spaces for recreation and conservation.

• Disturbance in local areas with damage to roads and noise pollution from drilling and transport

• Each drill site requires an area the size of a football field which will be disturbed or covered with a hard surface. Farm paddocks will be crisscrossed with tracks and roads for the trucks to move between the drillings.

• The fact that this industry is ‘once only’ and the land used for farming and often cared for by generations of farmers will be severely degraded and useless for food production

It is clear that farmers and landholders in this region are strongly opposed to any introduction of this very damaging industry and should be supported in their efforts to protect our landscapes and farmlands from a mining industry.


Example submission 2;

Dear Mayor, City of Greater Geelong Councillors, and Mr Thomas

The fossil fuel extraction company Lakes Oil has a licence to drill in our region. I look forward to hearing what concrete action Council will take in regard to cancelling or opposing this drilling licence to Lakes Oil under the Exploration Permit 163. At the moment it looks like that fracking operations is something that could begin in our region from next year, when the state moratorium on fracking runs out. Judging from the state government’s website – and contrary to the “Not on my guard” election promises from Premier Denis Napthine – both state government and the fossil fuel industry appears to be very eager to get started.

In New South Wales, the onshore gas industry – according to sources within the industry itself – is paying $135 million in land access payments to farmers and landowners, and the NSW government’s revenue is estimated to be $1.6 billion. A 49-page report from 2013, ‘Getting gas right: Australia’s energy challenge’, talks about producing an estimated $50 billion-a-year gas industry in Australia by 2017, and about Australia’s role in a so-called “gas revolution” created by surging demand in Asia.

“We believe that the US shale gas revolution is about to hit Australia’s shores,” “the potential size of Australia’s shale gas resources is truly enormous,” writes the gas extraction company RFC Ambrian. “It’s Cleaner. It’s Safer. It’s Jobs. It Is The Future,” proclaims the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association, APPEA. And accordingly, lots of money appears to have been invested already in trying to convince our elected representatives and decision makers in government to let what I would call “the fracking nightmare” roll out here in Victoria.

Our faith in democracy at stake
I will give some examples which explain why it will become a nightmare, if you allow this to happen. I will give you some of the reasons why I don’t think we should allow fracking for gas in Victoria – ever. You need to understand that people in your municipality are quite upset about this. “How can this happen in a democratic society when a vast majority of the population is against it?” they rightfully question. Citizens feel that their legal and civil rights have been take away from them. Old laws from another century – those days when gold mining was a big thing here in Victoria – have never been modernised, and this means that when the state government grants a licence to a gas company, as it has done with Lakes Oil in our region, the legislation actually allows Lakes Oil to mine anywhere within that licence, even if it is on private land. In order to maintain good public relations, most mining companies do try to gain permission from land-holders, but in reality a land-holder has no legal right to stop mining from occurring on their land.

In legal terms, people don’t even have the right to lock the gate on their own property and refuse gas mining on their land, and so far, I haven’t seen or heard anyone in politics advocating for an update of these old laws. This needs to change. What we need to understand here is that what is happening with the fracking question is that people’s faith in democracy is being shattered. Fracking creates anxiety and tension, and it makes otherwise normal peaceful citizens lose faith in the democratic processes and move over to unusual and often very messy civil disobedience measures with sad and expensive consequences for everyone. This is one aspect of what it is at stake if you allow this industry to enter our municipality.

Dangerous air pollution
I see some very serious problems arising in our society at the moment. The most urgent of these problems is that we are collectively ignoring what science is telling us, almost screaming at us, at the moment: that we have to stop burning fossil fuels. We have to stop filling the air with our tonnes and tonnes of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The solution is to quickly switch over to solar, to wind, to hydro power instead, and the good news is that there are so many good reasons to start doing that, economically, health-wise, and so on.

Even so, it is not really happening at the rate and at the scale which the scientists are advising us we should be doing this. You probably noticed the warnings coming from the UN Summit in New York about the same topic this week. Extensive reports from the Climate Panel of the United nations, IPPC, use more urgent language at each successive report to say we must stop burning fossil fuels if we want future generations to avoid a total runaway climate disaster.

And no, unconventional gas is not cleaner than coal – and it does not make environmental sense to use it as a “bridge fuel”. That is industry spin. Recent peer-reviewed science from Cornell University as well as several other universities raise serious doubts about the industry’s claim that gas is “cleaner than coal”, in particular because of the fugitive emissions at every stage of its extraction through to use.

Every dollar spent on gas is one we don’t get to spend on renewables, which – slows down the transition to a post carbon world. Investment in gas mining removes focus and economy from the transition to renewables and sustainable jobs. Gas mining is creating an unnecessary detour away from where we need to get to.

If you understand the latest peer-reviewed climate science, then you are aware that we must leave fossil fuel reserves in the ground to avoid runaway climate change. This gives you a great responsibility. Because we can see that that won’t happen unless you, our elected leaders in City of Greater Geelong, step in, take some real leadership and legislate in this area:

1) Ban onshore gas extraction once and for all

2) Move investments from fossil fuels over to renewables.

Worrying health impacts
When taking a position on fracking we must first of all look at its impacts on our health and safety – that fracking is risky gambling with drinking water and health. However, the issue also raises a question about which connection we would like to have with the land that we live on, and to that end, which possibilities we would like to have in terms of cultivating tourism.

Another issue with fracking, which you must take into account when you make your decision, is that our farmland becomes an industrial zone with lights, noise and truck movements 24/7, and how this affects the local tourism industry. We have seen this in Queensland and in the United States. Many more trucks will be on our roads. The landscape becomes mutilated by drilling towers and machinery. Geelong region’s reputation as an area for tourism gets ruined, and the real estate value of houses near gas mining wells drops.

Fracking has become known to be a very destructive industry that pumps toxic chemicals deep down in the ground and leaves us with lakes of poisonous water that we can’t get rid of. The industry claims that it knows what to do with the produced waste water, but the reality is that it doesn’t. Naturally occurring toxic chemicals and active elements which have been trapped in the rocks which are fractured are released with the gas. These plus 60 percent of the initial injected chemicals are returned to the surface. Not even reverse osmosis can remove some of these. Often these are just put into the local sewerage treatment system. Even the chemicals and elements which reverse osmosis can remove still have to be disposed of. They don’t just vanish. Where to?

The negative effects on our health, on our environment and the climate are all very well documented by now, and I assume you have been made aware of that.

The local pollution from fugitive emissions, toxic chemicals, mining equipment and particulates from diesel powered equipment causes citizens who live near the gas wells to get sick – and apart from the individual problems this causes, the bill for this sickness eventually becomes a bill to you, the Council, and to our society. The mining industry has impact on people living nearby and workers who are exposed to the chemicals and pollution. A study which recently came out of Yale University found that people who lived near oil and unconventional gas operations had greater respiratory illnesses and skin rashes than those who lived further away. And regardless of what the industry claims, accidents happen. Water contamination happens. The industry at the same time won’t give any guarantees that water contamination won’t happen. Evidence both from Queensland and the United States shows that this is happening. In terms of the chemicals being used for hydraulic fracturing, the industry only mentions the least offensive ones – vinegar, ‘many of the chemicals are under people’s sinks’, or ‘chemicals used in making ice-cream’. Very few of the chemicals they use have been tested for health effects on people and animals, let alone when they are used in combination.

The real bill is left unpaid
The only reason that fracking is taking place and happening even so – especially in Queensland, but also now possibly coming to Victoria, and maybe even to our region – is that there are some people out there who are making a lot of money on this (most of them not even living in Australia), while we, the rate payers, are unfairly left with all the bills to pay and the destruction of our land.

The mining industry has some very bad records for not cleaning up after itself, and unconventional gas mining is only profitable because costs of cleaning up and climate damage are not made a part of the equation.

What drives the gas mining industry forward is a desire to make profits. Local communities in Queensland are seeing the devastating consequences of this industry: Only a few people benefit financially from it, and they are not held accountable by authorities to pay the bills for the damage they create in the ground as well as in the air. Take a look at Tara in the Western Darling Downs for nightmarish health and community impacts. It becomes the local community which must bear the burden of the industry’s environmental impacts while the profits go elsewhere. Why should we, the citizens, accept being treated like that?

See through the industry spin and lies
‘Facts’ and ‘the science’ is being used as an argument for allowing onshore gas mining. Like the ‘fact’ that there has never been a ‘proven case’ of contamination of ground water because of fracking. This is not true. Facts and science can be manipulated and deliberately miscommunicated and many other myths are being created to delay the inevitable transition away from fossils fuels over to renewables. I can see that CoGG and the Victorian Government as well as local media all refer to studies and research carried out by CSIRO as if it was a reliable and ‘neutral’ scientific source. I suggest you ask yourself: Can the branch of CSIRO working on unconventional gas be relied on to be impartial when they are funded by the unconventional gas industry? They clearly cannot!

Regardless of the aggressive ‘fact claiming’ rhetoric flying through the air and through local media columns, there is one 100 per cent indisputable argument as to why unconventional gas mining must be permanently banned. That is the fact that gas is a fossil fuel and a greenhouse gas. The methane, which leaks in the gas production, is a fossil fuel and an extremely potent greenhouse gas. The greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels which we flood our atmosphere and oceans with are damaging our planet to a point where it is getting really dangerous now. It could get out of hand for humanity within the life time of our children, according to scientists in the United Nations’ Climate Panel.

Investing in gas mining in our area is not only locking us into polluting the air with more carbon, which is the wrong thing to do – we all know that, even most of those who pretend to ignore or oppose it – instead of going over to solar, wind and hydro, and so on, as our main sources for electricity. When on top of that you add the riskfactors involved and the fact that fossil fuels in general are not just dangerous to the climate, they are very dangerous to our health as well, then switching over to renewable energy sources becomes a very obvious choice. Gas can explode, and the gas production involves a lot of risks. Renewable energy sources don’t involve any such health risks. Add to that that the gas prices are continuously rising. More fracking won’t make gas cheaper to the consumer. On the contrary, prices are expected to triple soon. Meanwhile, prices on renewables are dropping – and will continue to drop.

The list of good reasons to ban fracking appears to be almost endless. As Victoria and Geelong gets drier and drier because of climate change, the gas extraction companies’ excessive use of millions litres of water in itself represents a threat. You will need to consult with Barwon Water about this.

The vast quantities of water needed to release oil and gas by fracturing rock formations are not available in many of the large areas with the richest deposits – and globally this poses a major challenge to the viability of fracking. According to a report by the World Resources Institute, 38 per cent of the areas where unconventional gas and oil is most abundant is arid or already under severe water stress – and the 386 million people living in these areas need all the spare water they can get.

Please apply for the exemption
Our neighbours in Surf Coast Shire have put forward a motion on Unconventional Gas Exploration and Development expressing concern about potential impacts and lack of regulatory framework. (See council minutes for motion details, page 177). It seems the Shire can apply to be exempt from this type of mining, but needs the community to ask council, through letters and emails, to apply for the exemption. I therefore ask City of Greater Geelong Council to apply for this extension as Surf Coast Shire is doing, and ensure that City of Greater Geelong remains gas mining free.

Help stop this intergenerational theft
Gas mining jobs are not needed here, there are many more jobs in energy efficiency and renewable energy, and that is the path we need to invest in. In California, for every job lost to fossil fuels, 50 new jobs have been created in energy efficiency. The most basic and fundamental question you as councillors must ask yourselves is probably: Why should we allow further investments in a fossil exploration and exploitation such as gas when we all know that what we urgently need to invest in is modern and clean, renewable energy technology? There comes a time when we must say ‘stop it’, and that time is now. Fracking is intergenerational theft. It is a shortsighted and amoral to provide energy in a world that needs to decarbonise its energy production.


Submission example 3;

Dear councillors,

I write to you as a very concerned lifelong resident of Geelong on the issue of fracking.

In the last 2 years I have taken the time to educate myself on many environmental issues including the extremely dangerous process of gas extraction known as fracking. I have learnt about the process itself and the effect it has had on towns that have been fracked and the picture is very clear – allowing gas companies to frack Geelong would be catastrophic for our region. The risks to our precious land and water supply, the health risks to our residents, the list goes on.

But apart from the innumerable negative effects it would directly have on Geelong, there is simply no sense to fracking. The simple fact is gas can no longer be extracted from the ground conventionally or unconventionally. The burning of fossil fuels is causing global warming which is creating an unstable climate. Geelong is not immune to the effects of climate change. Quite the contrary – we are a bayside town!!! We can help protect our beautiful town by making smart choices. Geelong has such a wonderful opportunity right now for clean energy technology manufacturing. Geelong is more than ready to be a ‘Clean Tech Hub’.

Councillors – you have the power to help create a safe, resilient, frack-free future for Geelong. Please use that power.


Submission example 4;

I wish to register my opposition to fracking in the Geelong area. Given the issues related to global warming and climate change, I firstly think that to uncover yet another fossil fuel makes no sense. Apart from this, the practice of fracking is invasive environmentally and potentially damaging to the underground water system. Reading accounts of the effects on locals when fracking has moved into different farming/winery/tourist areas in Australia gives some insight into its invasiveness in communities. Why would Geelong even consider letting this practice start here?
There are other ways to harness energy. Will Geelong City Council show any leadership in this area?


Submission example 5;

I would like it duly noted that I am totally opposed to any form of unconventional (fracking) gas mining/ exploration in the Geelong Region. I believe we should be expanding and transitioning into renewable energy. Fracking is a destructive energy source, puts our water supply at high risk of contamination and is not necessary. The jobs created are minimal and we know that most of the gas is exported so that fact that ‘they’ purport it is for our future energy supplies to prevent shortage is nothing more than a lie. Profits are for a few. There is no community gain in this industry.


Submission example 6;

I write as a worried Geelong resident to raise my serious concerns about fracking coming to the Geelong region. No doubt you will receive many submissions from similarly concerned residents RE: why fracking should be BANNED in the region (and essentially, across the entire world), but here are five points that I read some time ago in an article online that I believe accurately sum up my main reasons for opposing fracking so instead of reinventing the wheel I have posted them here;

http://www.rodalenews.com/fracking-2

Natural gas is not clean. Natural gas burns more cleanly than other fossil fuels, but in the course of its entire life cycle, it’s actually worse than coal, long touted as the dirtiest of our fossil fuels. Because fracking involves mixing millions of gallons of water laced with chemicals into the ground at high pressure, it creates fissures in the shale that release the natural gas. Life cycle analysis expert Robert Howarth, PhD, professor of ecology and environmental biology at Cornell University, discovered that anywhere from 3.6 to nearly 8 percent of the methane from shale gas drilling escapes through venting and leaks. Methane is a
greenhouse gas about 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

2. Howarth’s latest life cycle calculations updated in January 2011 find that when considering the burning of natural gas, and the methane leaks that fracking creates, shale gas produces 1.20- to 2.1-fold more greenhouse gas emissions when compared to coal during a 20-year time period. Methane leaks are worse during the actual fracking process, but they continue to slowly seep over long periods of time. When considering this, natural gas is on par with coal when looking at greenhouse gas production over a 100-year period, the Cornell research shows.

3. Fracking chemicals are extremely dangerous. Since most natural gas drilling companies will not disclose all of the products they use in the drilling process, Theo Colborn, PhD, founder and president of The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, set out to figure out what’s in the chemical cocktails used to drill wells and frack. She and her team found 649 different chemicals, more than half of which are known to disrupt the endocrine system. Exposure to these types of chemicals has been linked to certain cancers, diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome (the name for a group of risk factors that occur together and increase the risk for heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes). Fifty-five percent of the chemicals cause brain and nervous system damage, and many are linked to cancer and organ damage. The threat of exposure to these chemicals occurs via contaminated air, water, and soil. “They’re getting away with absolute murder; it’s criminal, the things they’re doing,” says award-winning scientist Colborn. “If you destroy an aquifer, you’ve lost it. You’ve destroyed your drinking water supply.”

4. Natural gas drilling turns clean country air to smog. Even if drilling and the fracking process run completely according to plan with no leaks, no methane migration into drinking water wells, no explosions, and no issues dealing with wastewater, air pollution from fracking is inevitable. It’s part of the process, as huge condensate tanks and compressor stations release toxic hydrocarbons like benzene, toluene, xylenes, and ethylbenzene (BTEX) into surrounding communities. At high levels, exposure to BTEX vapors may cause irreversible damage. That, paired with chemicals used in the initial drilling process, make it very harmful to live in the vicinity of a drilling operation, Colborn says. Her study in the International Journal of Human and Ecological Risk Assessment found that 36 percent of the identifiable chemicals used are volatile, meaning they become airborne. Among those, 93 percent have been shown to harm the eyes, skin, sensory organs, respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, or liver.

5. Fracking releases uranium. That’s right, the radioactive stuff. The 2005 Energy Act included what is known as the Halliburton Loophole, which exempts the natural gas drilling industry from many safeguards, such as the Clean Water Act, intended to protect citizens from industrial corporate activities that pollute. While the chemical cocktail used in fracking has been of much concern, new research is pointing to another fact: Contaminants and dangerous substances trapped deep underground become mobilized when fracking creates mini-earthquake-like explosions underground. A 2010 study out of the University of Buffalo found that natural gas drilling using the fracking method could potentially contaminate water supplies with uranium.

Fracking affects everyone. A natural gas survey released in December 2010 found that regardless of political leanings, most people are concerned about fracking. Even if you don’t live atop a major shale deposit, the pollution generated in fracking could affect you. Conrad Dan Volz, DrPH, MPH, director of the Center for Healthy Environments and Communities and the GSPH Environmental Health Risk Assessment Certificate Program at the University of Pittsburgh, notes that as more wells are installed in various states, there’s more toxic wastewater to deal with. Wastewater from fracking operations is often sent to municipal treatment plants that are not properly equipped to handle contamination by more than 600 chemicals, and possibly radioactive material. This wastewater is often shipped to locations where fracking isn’t even taking place, threatening rivers and drinking water supplies in those towns.

In short, the best defence against the negative impacts of fracking is to have NO FRACKING AT ALL.


Example submission 7;

We implore the Council of Geelong to remove all investment into fossil fuels and redirect it into renewable energy. Especially we want to make our opposition known to fracking. Please make the City of Greater Geelong a frackfree area.
Coal should be left in the ground undisturbed. Fracking will ruin fertile soil suitable for agriculture and risks contaminating groundwater, the two things we need most in the future.


Example submission 8;

I am writing on behalf of my sister and myself, who are co-owners of a property in Highton, and wish to register our strong opposition to any fracking being approved in the Geelong area.

The issue was brought to my attention by my sister who lives in the region, and when she told me about the proposal, I must say I thought it was a bad joke!

The environmental dangers along with the devastation caused to prime farmland by fracking are already well known from the well-documented experiences of many people in Queensland. I believe the idea that fracking could possibly be extended to the beautiful geelong region is totally outrageous.

Respected TV programs like ‘Four Corners’ have clearly explained all the negatives to this form of exploration – and how widespread those negative consequences can be (as opposed to the very narrow band of stakeholders who benefit from such resource exploitation, with wilful disregard to the environment and the local communities where they operate), so I won’t attempt to re-state those arguments here, but again, reinforce our strongest opposition to any fracking proposal for Geelong. I would also suggest that those with leadership roles in the community should be backing plans for renewable energy at every possible opportunity (e.g. wind / wave and solar, which we have here in abundance!), thus negating the need for our on-going dependence for so called ‘traditional’ energy solutions. We must look to achieve a sustainable energy future.


Example submission 9;

I am a resident of Waurn Ponds with grave doubts about the safety of fracking in light of the significant health issues which have been experience by those where fracking is well established overseas. As a former Science teacher, I have reviewed relevant information with interest and a great deal of concern.

My main concerns are:

• The toxic chemicals used in each fracking operation become airborne. This has been seen to affect children initially and then
adults. The first sign of young children being affected is that they start bleeding from their ears and their nose. Some have also been reported as bleeding from their anus.

• Evaporation ponds often leak wastewater back into the ground, thereby contaminating the aquifer from above. This is a very serious health and environmental issue. What will we tell our children if we decimate their future water supplies and health, as a result of ill-informed decision making now?

• The casings of the well do not always provide a good seal between the pipe and the terrain. This causes leaks of methane and other elements to enter the environment or the water aquifer – therefore poisoning what they come into contact with.

• Flames can be lit from the methane in domestic taps if a frack well seal fails and water contamination occurs.

To err on the side of caution and not introduce fracking to the Geelong community would put residents health and safety first which is where it always should be.

If there is any risk to community surely prevention is better than cure.
I hereby submit my very strong objection to fracking in Geelong.


Example submission 10;

A group of coal-seam gas protesters recently “democratically” declared the areas of Moriac, Mt Moriac and Paraparap to be “frack free”. Of the 70-80 people assembled at the ‘declaration’ event, many were from other areas, including Melbourne. Yet the organisers, like colonists, felt at liberty to stake their claim over the territory. To support their belief, they presented petitions, and spoke earnestly about the evils of gas – and indeed all fossil fuels – and the need for Victoria and the world to shift to renewable energy. This is a pattern which has played out in many small-town locations in NSW and Victoria. The same can not be said for WA, Queensland, NT, and SA, where natural gas has been safely extracted for up to 20 years.

At Moriac, the whole ‘democratic’ process unfolded without any examination of the facts about natural gas extraction. Unless they were already well educated, the people who attended left the meeting ignorant to the most telling facts about natural gas. If they were already educated, they left knowing nothing more than when they arrived.

The meeting and petitions presented had as much interest in facts and science as the Lock The Gate Queensland petition which called for the closure of the CSG industry because it had supposedly caused ‘black rain’ in the Darling Downs and a host of health problems for the people in the area. Did the people who signed that petition know what they were signing? Did the organisers contact all the signatories to apologise, when a costly Queensland Health investigation came to the conclusion that the so-called ‘black rain’ was naturally occurring lerps, and had nothing at all to do with the nearby gas wells?

Will Frack Free Geraldton and the Conservation Council apologise for their deliberately misleading advertisement in the Geraldton Guardian newspaper – the one which claimed CSG turns water into a “dangerous chemical cocktail”? Will they apologise for the deceptive ‘facts’ that US research had found 6 per cent of fracking wells leak into groundwater in their first year; and that once water is contaminated, it will be contaminated forever. Each of these claims was used in advertising which WA Newspapers decided was misleading and deceptive. The Sydney Morning Herald (26 September 2014) published details of these findings and other anti-gas propaganda in an article headed “Lies, damned lies and social media”. Some of these unfounded claims were aired at the Moriac meeting.

Protest groups claim blanket community support, but in the activist-targeted area of Narrabri, in Northern NSW, the ‘silent majority’ supports responsible gas drilling
(The Courier, 12 Sept. 2014).

As NSW Minister Anthony Roberts said recently: “There has been an awful lot of rubbish thrown at this industry. I would be happy to have a gas well on my property.” Mr Roberts drank water which NSW Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham claimed was CSG poisoned and riddled with radioactive heavy metals. Mr Roberts reported no ill effects.

Key facts about natural gas extraction:
• Natural gas has been drilled since 1947, first in the USA, then Canada, Europe and Australia, without environmental calamity.
• Hydraulic fracturing has been used in a total of 2.5 million wells worldwide without a single case of groundwater contamination. This fact has been confirmed by the US EPA.
• In Australia, gas extraction activities have been studied by health, environmental and regulatory bodies in Queensland, NSW and WA, as well as Federally. Study is underway in Victoria. No State in Australia, or overseas, has banned natural gas drilling.
• Natural gas drilling can and does co-exist with agriculture – most notably in Queensland and in Camden in NSW (on the southern outskirts of Sydney).
• Farmers do benefit from hosting natural gas wells. More than 5000 land owners have entered into commercial agreements with gas drillers in Queensland alone.
• Regional centres benefit from gas resource development, in local employment, service delivery businesses and direct spending by companies and workers
• The gas industry brings substantial economic benefits for land holders, communities and the nation, without compromising other industries, including tourism. Queensland expects to be the country’s highest growth State in 2015, on the back of the gas industry.
• More than 40,000 people are employed in the gas industry in Queensland alone.
• Billions will be paid nationwide in taxes and royalties in 2015 and beyond.

At a time when manufacturing is contracting and unemployment growing, there is a big opportunity for regional Victoria to create jobs and generate additional income for land and business owners – all from responsibly managed, Government regulated resources. That is what has happened in a number of States in the US and Canada, and in Queensland — and there is good reason to believe it can happen in Victoria, to the benefit of consumers, farmers and local businesses – with environmental benefits and without harm to water supplies or agriculture. History and science show that with sensible, regulated development, the economic power of gas can be harnessed, to the benefit of all.


» The above text is a part of the City of Greater Geelong Council meeting agenda document which is found here: www.geelongaustralia.com.au/common/Public/Documents/8cbc87d1d7fc42e-Council%20Agenda%20-%2014%20October%202014.pdf

» www.geelongaustralia.com.au/council/meetings



Time to let Council know what YOU think is… right now!

Have your say
Make sure you have your say if you do not wish to have fracking in Geelong. Even a sentence or two counts, by email, online or in the mail.

Closing date for submissions to Council is today, Friday 26 September 2014.

» Council’s submission page

» How to make a submission: Step by step guide by Alan Manson



Petition to councillors
Also, we encourage you to sign this petition if you would like to put your signature under our letter to Council asking our Councillors to call for a permanent ban on fracking in Victoria.

» Sign the petition: www.frackfreegeelong.org/petition

Hints for your submission

• Your submission doesn’t have to be detailed, but it should be heart felt.

• You are better off picking a couple of points with a bit of explanation than having a lot of points with no explanation at all. Think of the person reading them.

• Try to provide an acknowledged source to back up your point(s) – as shown on this page, there are NO shortage of these. Also see: www.climatesafety.info/gasrush

• Don’t just copy something you see here. Use your words. Say why you are concerned and feel free to offer alternatives.


Inspiration for your submission

If you would like to send a letter to Council about fracking, but feel unsure about what you should write, below are some ‘talking points’ you could elaborate on. Your submission should be personal and unique, in order to count as a submission.

For instance, you could simply state that,

“Council should not allow industry practices to be deployed in City of Greater Geelong that will pollute air, waste vast quantities of water, cause 24/7 noise and light pollution, over-stress our roads, could irreversibly contaminate aquifers and even trigger earthquakes.

There is no reason why Council should allow gas mining in our municipality now that we can get our energy from renewable energy sources which are safe, better for both climate and environment, and create sustainable jobs in the region.”



Share

When you have written a submission, please share it with us so we can post it on this page in order to inspire others.



A4 flyer
A4 flyer

This A4-flyer contains information about where they might frack in Geelong, and also how to send a submission to council with your opinion on fracking in Geelong.

Print a few copies of this flyer and hand around your neighbourhood. But let us know about it if you do this, so we can coordinate what is happening. About 1,600 flyers were letterboxed in Grovedale and Waurn Ponds on 15 September.

Also, copy what you find relevant, paste it in an email and forward it to your friends, family, colleagues and network.

» If you would like to make amendments in the text, download this open Word Document





Examples of submissions


Below are some examples of what people and groups have submitted to Council – for your inspiration. We advice you not to copy-paste, but to tell your own story. Tell Council what you believe is the most important to take into consideration in this matter.


Submission by Frack Free Geelong

SubmissionbyFrackFreeGeelonThis submission was sent to rthomas@geelongcity.vic.gov.au on 26 September 2014 at 1pm:

pdf-ikon-STORT


 

 


Submission by Geelong Sustainability

This submission was sent to rthomas@geelongcity.vic.gov.au on 25 September 2014:

Dear Rodney Thomas,

Any new activity proposed for the Geelong region needs to be considered in the light of current visions and goals. Geelong Sustainability submits that Geelong and surrounds should be known for its clean green economy, and that there is no place for fracking within that. Various vision statements have been created for the Geelong region, and many centre around creating a clean green future. Underpinning this is our region’s natural environment – our beaches and parks are generate a thriving tourist economy. The region’s wine and fine food industries have built upon the image of the Surf Coast and Bellarine as beautiful natural areas. There is strong demand for real estate in the because of the open spaces and relaxed lifestyle.

As organisations such a Cleantech Innovations Geelong and Future Proofing Geelong indicate, Geelong city does not sit apart from this image. Geelong Sustainability has long advocated that while climate change presents a global crisis, Geelong is uniquely positioned to be part of the solution – by manufacturing clean green technology.

Climate change is an undeniable reality. The levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are now higher than they have been at any time for hundreds of thousands of years. Scientists believe that the Earth is reaching the point beyond which we no longer have a safe climate. The effects for our region alone will be significant – higher sea levels, more frequent bushfires, more severe heatwaves, more droughts and threats to food security. A drastic reduction in the production of greenhouse gases (particularly carbon dioxide and methane) is required. This will require a transformation of our electricity generation and transport industries, among other things.

Recent job losses notwithstanding, Geelong still boasts a manufacturing sector. We have technical skills and expertise, coupled with the presence of a world class university that is focused on local partnerships. Geelong could and should be manufacturing components for wind turbines, solar panels and components for solar thermal power stations. The basic ingredients for all of these are steel and glass, which are mainstays of our current production. In addition Geelong is one of few cities to have hosted an automotive industry. Geelong has made its name as a manufacturer of passenger vehicles, but it could be producing electric vehicles.

Now let us view fracking within this context. Fracking has a number of physical effects both on the surface environment and the water table down below. The Geelong region’s clean green image has been painstakingly built up through a number of marketing campaigns – but perceptions can change quickly. Damage to Geelong’s water table, on the other hand, could be with us for many decades.

The onshore gas extraction industry exposes our local community to a range of environmental, health-related and psychological impacts and risks which must be considered.

The purpose of fracking is to extract methane gas which can be burned to provide power or heating. But this is not clean or ‘green’ technology. Methane is non-renewable, and produces greenhouse gas when burned. It is marketed as being more “environmentally friendly” than coal due to its lower greenhouse emissions when burned. What is often discounted is the amount of fugitive emissions caused by fracking – i.e. methane that escapes directly into the atmosphere. When methane escapes directly it has a high global warming potential, negating the so called “environmentally friendly” effects.

The so called environmental benefits of producing methane gas through fracking are questionable, and represent the wrong approach. Any new infrastructure related to power generation should be based around zero emission sources – particularly solar and wind.

The power production of the future will not reduce greenhouse gases, it will avoid producing them. Groups such as Beyond Zero Emissions have shown that a power grid comprising largely solar thermal, solar PV and wind could provide Australia’s electricity needs with zero greenhouse emissions. Geelong should play a central part in this.

Geelong is currently experiencing the trauma caused by the moving on of a number of large corporations (e.g. Ford, Alcoa). According to the best wisdom of the day, Geelong actively recruited and attracted these companies. These companies brought economic benefits over many decades and helped establish Geelong as an industrial city, but now they are departing.

We could choose to attract a new industry – fracking – to our region. No doubt the industry will spruik that they bring jobs and investment. Perhaps they will – for ten years or so, while each well is operating. Electric vehicles, wind and solar, on the other hand will be needed in perpetuity, as will the jobs they create.

Dave Campbell
President
Geelong Sustainability

pdf-ikon-STORT

» This submission was republished on this page with permission from Geelong Sustainability. The original document is found on: www.geelongsustainability.org.au (PDF)



Submission by Dr Quentin Farmar-Bowers

This submission was sent to rthomas@geelongcity.vic.gov.au on 25 September 2014 at 1:30pm:

“Dear Sir / Madam
I would like to make a submission about the proposed onshore gas extraction program south of Geelong. I have copied this email to the Victorian Minister for Energy and Resources, Mr Russell Northe, MP.

I think the gas extraction program should not go ahead.

I do not see any benefit for the region nor for Australia in allowing this kind of gas development. This energy project is a negative for everybody:

(1) even for the shareholders of the fracking companies (as the opportunity cost is higher than investing in more modern energy technology companies).

(2) And negative for the banks loaning them the money because there is a backlash against them that will grow in years to come (ethical investing options, divestment in fossil fuel industry … like the recent move by the Rockefeller Foundation, the World Council of Churches and Superfunds [such as HESTA]).

(3) And a backlash against the governments who sanction these projects, when people see the physical devastation and ill health they cause.

(4) For the people in the region who will lose agricultural productivity and suffer from ill health because of the pollution and impossibility of getting compensation down the track.

(5) For the property developers in adjacent areas who find their housing estates have lost value. (6) And finally, for everybody and every ecosystem on the planet as this gas production process and consumption produces more CO2e than coal.

I would like to see a permanent ban on this industry in the region (State and Australia if possible). I don’t think it has any positive value and will cause a lot of harm.

I see this harm in terms of:

· Disruption to farming in the region both now and for decades to come because of the contamination of soil through the disposal of salt and fracking chemicals, the contamination of soil through fugitive methane and other (toxic) hydrocarbons, the contamination of ground water through chemicals, the contamination of surface water and soil from heavy metal and radioactive chemicals that will be brought up in the returned well water (placed in evaporative ponds or irrigated onto farmland or used on roadways for dust suppression), and the use of existing water resources for mining liquids.

· Contamination of air through dust and hydrocarbons released from well-heads and seeping through the ground. This contamination may last decades and may increase in future when well-head capping structure and well linings fail. The cost of resealing these numerous wells is likely to be many times the Geelong city’s total budget for the whole region. The proposed gas field is up-wind of Geelong and very close to the enormous housing subdivisions taking place between Geelong and Torque. If the gas project goes ahead these housing developments should be deferred and safer areas set aside for housing.

· There will be premature deaths from air, soil and water contamination and there may also be birth defects.

· There will be little if any economic gains for the region as the shareholders (who are likely to get dividends) are mostly overseas. The jobs in the Geelong region will be short lived but this income (and the tax they will pay) will be offset by the loss of farming income and by the increase health cost for local people. The gas companies may not be in a position to provide compensation in the decades to come, so compensation will come (if it comes at all) from community money via state and federal governments.

· The burning of the gas will increase global warming wherever it is burnt….and we know that Australia, being a hot and dry continent with its main cities on the coast, is especially vulnerable to even a small increase in warming and sea level rise and reduced rain fall.

· This gas is actually worse for CO2e emissions than coal because of the ongoing fugitive emissions and because of all the energy used in getting it out of the ground, transporting it to ports (in Queensland) shipping overseas then transporting it within these foreign countries to factories and shops.

· If in future, an Australian Government commits us to a global CO2e target, the ongoing fugitive gases (mainly methane with 72 times the warming forcing of CO2 over 20 years) will have to be taken into account. This means that Australian businesses will have to reduce their CO2 pollution further than they would have had if the gas fracking industry had not existed. In other words, Australian businesses and Australians will be left an ongoing legacy from the short lived gas fracking businesses.

· The externalities of this gas are not included in the price…if the full costs were included, the gas would never be able to find a buyer. However, the subsidy Australia is providing the fracking industry means they will be able to sell the gas. So this industry is a massive market failure. And as far as global warming is concerned, it is a classic mal-adaption.

Thanks for this opportunity to comment.

Dr Quentin Farmar-Bowers”


Submission by Centre for Climate Safety

This submission was sent to rthomas@geelongcity.vic.gov.au on 26 September 2014:

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Submission by Anthony Gleeson

This submission was sent to rthomas@geelongcity.vic.gov.au on 25 September 2014:

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Submission by Doug Rolfe

This submission was sent to rthomas@geelongcity.vic.gov.au on 25 September 2014:

“I lived in Geelong for 32 years from age 7 until moving to a rural property in the Surf Coast Shire 9 years ago. We have strong existing connections to Geelong through family, church, schools and community organisations.

I am strongly opposed to onshore natural gas extraction in any area. It is an inappropriate industry.

I have worked in the oil industry at the beginning of my career and have BSc (Hons) in Chemistry. I have recently worked with a local Catchment Management Authority in analysis of water quality of local rivers. I was part of the community reference group for the Geelong Geothermal Power Project.

Apart from the obvious damage to the surface of the land, the CSG and associated industry in northern Australia and in the USA have a history of damage to local aquifers. COGG should seriously investigate the situation in the Condamine River in QLD and other rivers in northern NSW and QLD before allowing this industry anywhere near the aquifers in our area or the Barwon River.

Natural gas extraction by ‘unconventional’ methods has been strongly associated with high levels of fugitive emissions of methane. This means that overall carbon footprint of methane (natural gas) extracted by unconventional means is no better than for coal. The work of Dr Isaac Santos and Dr Damien Maher at Southern Cross University has been crucial in showing that gas companies have not carried out the monitoring necessary to track these emissions. (eg. http://scu.edu.au/coastal-biogeochemistry/index.php/70/)

The majority of gas being extracted is intended for direct export and is of little benefit to the local community. I would recommend inviting Dr Mark Ogge from the Australia Institute to brief Council on the financial problems associated with this industry.

The impact of unconventional gas exploration and extraction on rural communities is devastating. The concerns of the community are not based on irrational fears. There has been enough evidence of the destructive nature of this activity that typical ‘law abiding’ farmers are having to resort to blockading their properties in acts of civil disobedience. The Surf Coast communities of Moriac, Mt Moriac, Paraparap and Freshwater Creek recently declared themselves ‘gasfield free’ with between 92-97% of the community signing on to say they reject this industry. There was strong support from Local Council, State and Federal politicians attending. We are looking for the same leadership and support from the Geelong City Council.

Geelong needs to pursue a future based on renewable energy resources and ‘clean tech’ manufacturing. Unconventional gas extraction is a dead-end technology being pursued for the financial benefit of few, to the detriment of the broader community.

Doug Rolfe”


Submission by Alan Manson

This submission was sent to rthomas@geelongcity.vic.gov.au and also sent carbon copy as an individual emails to the 13 councillors:

“Dear Mr. Mayor,

The issue on Fracking greatly concerns me, and I also have concerns that councillors may not receive all the facts related to Fracking that if known, would immediately draw the conclusion that Fracking is unsafe to the environment and the community, and is therefore unacceptable to allow in the Geelong region.

Although I have a copy of my submission attached for your attention, if you can’t find the time to read it, then please do yourself a favour by clicking on the two links below and take just a few minutes to see how bad Fracking really is and how it is likely to impact the Geelong region adversely.

Thank you for taking the time to read this email.

Kind regards,
Alan Manson

» Fracking or drinking water? That may become the choice
www.nbcnews.com

» Voices from the Gaslands – Megan’s Story
www.lockthegate.org.au/megan

» Submission: Onshore Natural Gas (Coal Seam Gas – Fracking) in the Geelong Region (PDF, 10 pages)”

pdf-ikon-STORT

 



Submission by a Frack Free Geelong supporter

This submission was sent to rthomas@geelongcity.vic.gov.au on 26 September 2014 at 4pm:

“To The Mayor & All CoGG Councillors & All Others to Whom This Should Concern

Under NO circumstances do I agree to any form of Fracking or investing of such an industry in Geelong or Victoria….The more I learn of this industry, the more this is so blatantly obvious to everyone that it is a very harmful, destructive, dangerous, damaging industry on every level.

There is NO way I & thousands of others around the country who understand how damaging Fracking is, will allow these companies in Victoria….regardless of the approved licences. There will be massive blockades at record levels, I can guarantee it…..numbers are growing, word is spreading, we will go to every house like those in Moriac, Mt Moriac, Freshwater Creek & Paraparap if we have to.

If Council do not join with Surf Coast Council, Barwon Water & Residents to stand for keeping Geelong & Victoria Frack Free, I & many will be informing & undertaking steps to gather evidence regarding current property value, full health checks, water quality with pre testing of methane & chemical levels & water & noise quality….as base line measurement to prepare & prove damages for legal action against Council, the State & Federal Government if necessary.

I am a single mother who was born in Geelong & lived here my whole life. I am appalled that these Fracking companies have ever been allowed to enter our beautiful country & have exploratory licences even granted……all behind our backs to destroy my property value, health, water & air quality & job prospects.

Every Council member needs to see the movie Gasland

& the movie filmed in Australia, Fractured Country

To further summarise the issues specifically I’d like to state known facts:

– Fracking has not been proven safe to either the environment or to those living in it – flora, fauna and people.

– Fracking relies on large volumes of heavy trucks and machinery entering and leaving local communities 24/7/365.

– Should any of the trucks carrying highly toxic chemicals become involved in a traffic accident, this could create a toxic spill that will need to be cleaned up. Unless the cleanup is 100% effective, the community may be in danger from the remnants of the spill. I understand the chemicals being used cause ill health and cancer.

– The industry does not employ locals or bring any benefit to the local economy.

Further, I am stunned we are even having to be made to go through this process of submissions, when our neighbouring Council in the Surf Coast did their own investigations & simply decided, long ago to keep the area Frack Free. Why……because it is a NO BRAINER. There is nothing to gain, only to lose as our number 1 industry in this Region being Tourism, with the Great Ocean Road & Otways being the biggest Tourist destination outside of Melbourne for domestic & international visitors.

See stats from Tourism Victoria under what’s their main purpose for coming.
www.tourism.vic.gov.au/research/domestic-and-regional-research/domestic-visitation.html…this demonstrates the enormity of Tourism in our Region & how important it is to us the residents of Geelong as the gateway to the Surf Coast & Great Ocean Road & therefore important to all the residents (our neighbours) in that region also.

Deciding anything other than to keep Geelong & Victoria Frack Free will destroy us economically, socially, agriculturally, affecting health, jobs, food, water levels & quality, air quality, property values etc.

We as a Region, State, Country & Planet need to be ONLY focusing on Sustainable, Renewable, Socially Conscious, Peaceful (not connected to wars & violence), Clean Green business, industry & manufacturing.

On Tuesday 23 Sept 2014 many leaders of the World met to discuss this very issue based on worldwide concern on our values, priorities, plans & goals in this area. Our Prime Minister chose not to go, the world is watching us. We Geelong & Victoria have an opportunity here to be the leaders in Sustainable Renewable Manufacturing etc we are among one of the sunniest countries in the world & are one of the most arid countries in the world. We can not sustain industries raping our land, planet & people of a sustainable life through mining & war any longer.

Mr Di Caprio summed it up perfectly on Tuesday at the UN Climate Summit in New York please watch & really listen to what he is saying:

Thank you for the opportunity to state my strong views to keep Geelong & Victoria Frack Free permanently & for our region & state to focus on Sustainable, Renewable, Clean Green enterprises only.”

 



Submission by Nat Cowdell

This submission was sent to rthomas@geelongcity.vic.gov.au on 26 September 2014

“Dear councillors,

I write to you as a very concerned lifelong resident of Geelong on the issue of fracking.

In the last 2 years I have taken the time to educate myself on many environmental issues including the extremely dangerous process of gas extraction known as fracking. I have learnt about the process itself and the effect it has had on towns that have been fracked and the picture is very clear – allowing gas companies to frack Geelong would be catastrophic for our region. The risks to our precious land and water supply, the health risks to our residents, the list goes on.

But apart from the innumerable negative effects it would directly have on Geelong, there is simply no sense to fracking. The simple fact is gas can no longer be extracted from the ground conventionally or unconventionally. The burning of fossil fuels is causing global warming which is creating an unstable climate. Geelong is not immune to the effects of climate change. Quite the contrary – we are a bayside town!!! We can help protect our beautiful town by making smart choices. Geelong has such a wonderful opportunity right now for clean energy technology manufacturing. Geelong is more than ready to be a ‘Clean Tech Hub’.

Councillors – you have the power to help create a safe, resilient, frack-free future for Geelong. Please use that power.

Yours sincerely,

Natalie Cowdell”



Submission by a Frack Free Geelong supporter

This submission was sent to rthomas@geelongcity.vic.gov.au on 20 September 2014

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Submission by a Frack Free Geelong supporter

“Dear City of Greater Geelong Councillors,

I am a mother who is extremely concerned about the world in which my children and grandchildren will grow up if we continue to use fossil fuels as energy sources.

Unconventional gas is a fossil fuel which the vast majority of the latest peer-reviewed science is telling us must remain in the ground if we want to avoid catastrophic climate change.

We have alternatives in clean renewable energy sources like the sun and the wind which will not only be safer, but also will provide new jobs in Geelong and district.

Geelong is at a crossroads. We can continue with fossil fuels which have served us well in the past, but which the rest of the world is now rejecting, or we can lead our state and country by embracing a clean energy job rich future.

Choose wisely, COGG councillors! Please protect you citizens and reject this invasive, toxic industry.”



Submission by a Frack Free Geelong supporter

“Dear Councillors of the City of Greater Geelong

I appreciate the opportunity to have a say on this very important issue. I congratulate the City of Greater Geelong for this initiative.

I am particularly concerned about the health impacts on going down the path of onshore gas exploration and extraction.

The usually conservative Australian Medical Association (AMA) has urged caution, saying we just don’t know enough about the health impacts to proceed at this stage. Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) and the Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA) go a little further and suggest a ban until the industry is able to prove that it is safe.

The health concerns come from most aspects of the gas industry’s practices:

– The mix of dangerous chemicals which are forced under pressure deep into the earth

– The fear of contamination of drinking water sources

– The impact of people living near the wells and being exposed to airborne pollutants 24/7

– The impact on mental health of seeing the area being turned into an industrial zone.

– The contribution this fossil fuel has to runaway climate change at a time when the latest peer-reviewed climate science is screaming out that we must leave all fossil fuels in the ground if we want a safe climate future.

I am deliberately focussing only on some of the health impacts in my submission. I know there are many others.

With all these concerns about the negative impacts of this industry, I can’t understand why we would be thinking of embracing unconventional gas in this area. There are alternatives, like clean renewable energy – wind, solar and wave energy, to name just three – which have none of these concerns and also have the potential to provide many more – and sustainable – local jobs in these times of high unemployment in City of Greater Geelong.”




 

Reasons why we don’t need to frack for gas

1) The local community bears the burden while the profits go elsewhere:

Gas prices go up not down – will have export parity price. Price in Asia is much higher, so gas companies won’t accept lower domestic price.

Industrial zone: Lights noise 24/7. Many more truck movements on our roads. Landscape mutilated by industrial gasfield zones. Tourism ruined. Real estate value drops

Local pollution from fugitive emissions, toxic chemicals, mining equipment and particulates from diesel powered equipment.

Risky gambling with drinking water and health. Impact on people living nearby and workers who are exposed to the chemicals and pollution. (A study which recently came out of Yale University found that people who lived near oil and unconventional gas operations had greater respiratory illnesses and skin rashes than those who lived further away.)

Water contamination: accidents happen. The industry claims – but at the same time won’t guarantee – that water contamination won’t happen. Evidence both from Queensland and the United States shows that this is happening.

Chemical use: Industry only mentions the least offensive ones – vinegar, ‘many of the chemicals are under people’s sinks’, or ‘chemicals used in making icecream’. Very few of the chemicals they use have been tested for health effects on people and animals, let alone when they are used in combination.

• Excessive use of water on the driest continent. The vast quantities of water needed to release oil and gas by fracturing rock formations are not available in large areas with the richest deposits – posing major challenges to the future viability of fracking. (According to a report by the World Resources Institute, 38 per cent of the areas where unconventional gas and oil is most abundant is arid or already under severe water stress – and the 386 million people living in these areas need all the spare water they can get.)

• What to do with produced waste water? Naturally occurring toxic chemicals and radio active elements which have been trapped in the rocks which are fractured are released with the gas. These plus 60 percent of the initial injected chemicals are returned to the surface. Not even reverse osmosis can remove some of these. Often these are just put into the local sewerage treatment system. Even the chemicals and elements which reverse osmosis can remove still have to be disposed of. They don’t just vanish. Where to?



2) Fracking is intergenerational theft, short-sighted and amoral. Here’s why:

• Unconventional gas mining is only profitable because costs of cleaning up and climate damage are not part of the equation. The mining industry has a century-old history of not cleaning up after itself.

• Investment in gas ming removes focus and economy from the transition to renewables and sustainable jobs. Every dollar spent on gas is one we don’t get to spend on renewables – slows down the transition to a post carbon world.

• Unnecessary detour. According to the latest peer-reviewed climate science we MUST leave fossil fuels in the ground if we want to avoid runaway climate change. The Climate Panel of the United nations, IPPC, reports using more urgent language at each successive report to say we must stop burning fossil fuels if we want future generations to have a safe climate.

• Gas mining jobs are not needed here, there are many more jobs in energy efficiency and renewable energy, and that is the path we need to invest in. In California, for every job lost to fossil fuels, 50 new jobs have been created in energy efficiency.

Not cleaner than coal: Recent peer-reviewed science from Cornell University is raising serious doubts about the industry’s claim that it is cleaner than coal – fugitive emissions at every stage of its extraction through to use – methane is much worse in terms of greenhouse gas emissions than CO2.


Summarising:
What drives the gas mining industry forward is a desire to make profits. Local communities in Queensland are seeing the devastating consequences of this industry: Only a few people benefit financially from it, and they are not held accountable by authorities to pay the bills for the damage they create in the ground as well as in the air. See Tara in the Western Darling Downs for nightmarish health and community impacts.

‘Facts’ and ‘the science’ is being used as an argument for allowing onshore gas mining. Like the ‘fact’ that there has never been a ‘proven case’ of contamination of ground water because of fracking. Not true. Facts and science can be manipulated and deliberately mis-communicated and many other myths which are being created to delay the inevitable transition away from fossils fuels over to renewables.

You must ask yourself: Can the branch of CSIRO working on unconventional gas – which Council and media often refers to as the official ‘science’ on gas mining – be relied on to be impartial when they are funded by the unconventional gas industry?

If you find this ‘fact claiming’ rhetoric game a waste of time, then just stick to some of the 100 percent indisputable arguments why unconcentional gas mining must be permanently banned, such as, for instance:

• Gas is a fossil fuel and a greenhouse gas. Methane, which leaks in the gas production, is a fossil fuel and an extremely potent greenhouse gas. The greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels we flood our atmosphere and oceans with are damaging our planet to a point where it is getting really dangerous. It could get out of hand for humanity within the life time of our children.

• Fossil fuels are not just dangerous to the climate. They are dangerous to our health. Gas can explode. Gas production involves a lot of risks. Renewable energy sources don’t involve any such health risks.

• Gas prices are rising. More fracking won’t make gas cheaper to the consumer. On the contrary, prices are expected to triple soon. Meanwhile, prices on renewables are dropping – and will continue to drop.

• Why keep investing in a fossil exploration and exploitation such as gas when what we urgently need to invest in is modern and clean, renewable energy technology? There comes a time when we must say ‘stop it’, and that time is now.



» For more information about onshore gas extraction, see gas fact sheets, links to reports, videos, listen to a locally produced podcast, and find more information on: www.climatesafety.info/gasrush as well as here on this website.

» Send your submission to Council before 26 September 2014 on: www.geelongaustralia.com.au/yoursay