Category Archives: Campaign news

Fracking dangers highlighted at council meeting

There was a very loud applause from the audience of 150 concerned Geelong citizens who attended the council meeting on Tuesday evening 22 July 2014 whenever a question had been asked to the Geelong councillors about whether the invasive gas mining and fracking industry will be allowed to begin its toxic industrialisation in areas of City of Greater Geelong and about the council’s community consultation procedures.

IMG_3518Sign-audience

“This is not about protesting. This is about advocating for plain common sense. Why should we turn Geelong region into an invasive gasfield industrial zone when we have clean, renewable energy sources that make a lot more common sense in every aspect – economically, environmentally and climate-wise?,” said Mik Aidt, a Geelong resident, father of three children aged between five and nine years, and – in particular for that reason – a founding member of Frack Free Geelong.

Council resolved at the meeting on to commence a 30 day process to educate Council on the issue of ‘fracking’. Council’s general manager Gary van Driel explained in a letter sent to Frack Free Geelong on 28 July about the expectations and dates of the process:

“Council will be seeking advise from relevant State government departments and agencies as well as experts in various fields. Council will also review any information provided by community groups and individuals.

This process will be followed by Council taking public submissions on the issue of coal seam gas mining, and in particular, the ‘fracking’ process for a period of one month commencing 24th August 2014.

The process outlined will provide opportunity for Council to consider its position regarding coal seam gas mining which can then be reflected in the Environmental Management Strategy.”



» Download photos in high resolution


Reports from the meeting

At the bottom of this page you will find the Geelong Advertisers report on what happened at the Geelong City Council’s meeting:

An excerpt:

“In bringing a notice of motion, Cr Andy Richards explained that as part of the council’s Environment Management strategy’s public consultation process it became apparent the city would have to deal with concerns surrounding the practice of Coal Seam Gas Extraction, or in particular the practice of hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’. He noted concerns included the impact on quality and quantity of the region’s water supply; the impact on health from toxic chemicals, and the impact of heavy vehicles on the community. He moved that the council take public submissions on Coal Seam Gas Extraction, particulary fracking, for one month, and a submission report be presented to the council. (…)

Cr Stretch Kontelj suggested the notice of motion be deferred but that was defeated on a show of hands.

Cr Kylie Fisher moved an amendment, arguing for a 30-day process to educate councillors in fracking be undertaken followed by taking public submissions for a month and that a submission report be presented to council as part of the environmental management strategy.

Cr Fisher said it was important that the city would be working through a process and taking public submissions.

Cr Nelson said he knew a little about fracking and it concerned him but that more time than 30 days was needed to understand the issue. The motion was passed with Cr Nelson voting against.”


» Geelong Advertiser – 24 July 2014:
Fracking – councillors to be educated

» More about the meeting


Strategy Meeting
Members of the Frack Free Geelong group decided today to call for an open anti-fracking strategy meeting on Thursday 31 July at 7pm at Trades Hall in the Auditorium, 127 Meyers Street.
» Read more



How will Geelong Council involve the community in its decision-making processes about fracking?

The following update as to what happened at the Geelong City Council’s meeting is written by Alan Manson from Frack Free Grovedale. It was sent via email to the members of Frack Free Geelong

At least 50 people supporting our cause arrived outside Council’s chambers prior to the meeting. There were two big groups in attendance that evening – the C300 Building Planning group and our Fracking group. It was standing room only. We had plenty of placards on parade, and because of this managed to educate the occasional C300 person about Fracking.

During Question Time, Ingrid Flood asked the following question:

I am aware that Council has been attending to the issue of ‘fracking’ in relation to it Environmental Management Strategy report that is yet to become available, and that fracking was to be included in the final version of the EMS.

I am also aware that Council indicated in its 8th July meeting it had changed its mind by saying the fracking report would no longer be included in the EMS but dealt with by Council in the first meeting to be held in August.

Since then, I also understand Council’s City Services General Manager (Garry Van Driel) has written to Lyn Manson stating that Council will shortly invite public submissions regarding the issue of gas fracking for a period of one month.

I read on page 166 of Council’s Agenda for tonight, Cr. Andy Richards is putting forward a motion that says:

“Council take public submissions regarding the issue of Coal Seam Gas Extraction and in particular fracking, for a period of one month commencing 23 July 2014.”

My concerns here are that the General Manager says Council will “shortly invite public submissions … for a period of one month” and that Cr. Richards is moving that the one month period commences tomorrow – the day after this meeting ends.

Don’t these statements oppose Council’s recently announced Community Engagement Policy that was approved by your CEO as recently as the 8th July?

In Council’s document CPL10.2 Community Engagement Policy, Council has agreed to implement the procedures and guidelines that are in accordance with the IAP2 standards, which includes Council’s commitment to INFORM, CONSULT, INVOLVE, COLLABORATE and EMPOWER the community in its decision-making processes.

In the issue of fracking and the statements referred to above, it is clear that the IAP2 procedures are being swept aside.

If Council is genuinely committed towards applying IAP2’s core values into the fracking issue, shouldn’t this mean that Council should commence establishing information for the public to become educated about fracking on its website, libraries and other public places prior to commencing the period in which submissions are to be received?

My question is directed to the Mayor.
Should the proposed Notice of Motion tonight be amended to read that “Council immediately implement its Community Engagement policy by establishing information throughout the Geelong region about fracking in accordance with IAP2 standards prior to implementing a 30 day period for submissions to be received.”



The CPL10.2 document Ingrid Flood referred to was pivotal, because it explains how Council should be conducting their investigations into Fracking by implementing the procedures they have previously agreed to last meeting.

If Council implemented this policy, this would mean that:

1. Council should put information that presents the pros and the cons of Fracking on their website;

2. Establish a display area about Fracking in each of its libraries;

3. Advertise the displays to the public in the media;

4. Advertise the opening and closing dates for submissions to be received;

5. Be accountable in their processing of the public’s submissions (e.g. the contents of each submission received should be posted on their website);

6. Be transparent in the manner they conduct any public consultations;

7. Hold a public meeting to allow public discussion regarding the content of the report the Councillors will be using to vote on, which should contain comments from Council officers together with comments from the submissions received.

Establishing such a process would then permit the Geelong community the opportunity to become fully educated on ‘unconventional gas’ mining and sufficiently informed to fully ‘engage with Council’ to determine a policy.

However, the Council meeting saw councillors adding an additional period of time to that suggested in the Notice of Motion. They increased it from 30 days commencing Wednesday (23rd July) during which time the Councillors will educate themselves on the pros and cons of CSG mining followed by a further 30 day period in which submissions will be received from the public.

Although some people within the Frack Free group considered this was a good outcome, the reality is that had Council applied its CPL10.2 Community Engagement Policy document as it should have, this would mean the onus would be on Council to undertake the community education process whereas now, the requirement falls back on a few in the community to find the mammoth resources needed to undertake the community education process, and to motivate the community to make a choice whether to put in a submission or not. Naturally, such a task is doomed to fail unless a miracle happens.

Also, it seems unfair that Council are in no way seeking to disclose if they will adopt any recognised procedure relating to:

What sources of information councillors will use relating to CSG mining? Could it be political party propaganda or possibly mining company literature? Who knows?

Would they accept and use information given to them from sources (say) Frack Free Geelong?

What process do they have in place regarding the processing of the submissions so that the community can feel that their voice has been responded to?

Request

In view of the above irregularities in this process and especially that Council has effectively circumvented its own CPL10.2 Community Engagement Policy (thereby making it null and void) I believe everyone in Geelong should write to the councillors and require them to give their reasons why they voted to avoid using the CPL10.2 Community Engagement Policy document.

Public Meeting

At the Council meeting I handed out flyers (below) that omitted the date of the meeting. I did try to correct the error before people went into the meeting, but some may not have heard.

If you know of anyone who received a flyer, please advise them the meeting is next Thursday the 31st July.

Newspaper Article

Below is a copy of the newspaper article emailed to the media for publication.

Hope to see you next Thursday!!

Alan Manson
Frack Free Grovedale


Concerned residents wait outside Council’s chambers to voice their concerns about Fracking
Concerned residents wait outside Council’s chambers to voice their concerns about fracking

Council decision on fracking postponed to September

Councilors admit during debate on Coal Seam Gas mining (commonly known as Fracking) they have little knowledge about the subject and need time to do some research.

By Alan Manson

More than 50 people from the Geelong community attended last Tuesday’s Ordinary Council Meting to express their concerns regarding Council’s attitude towards the possibility of Fracking occurring in the region despite a moratorium being in place.
During question time, Armstrong Creek resident Dan Cowdell asked why Council can’t adopt the same position as the Surf Coast Council has; and Hamlyn Heights resident Fleur Brique explained how she and her family have experienced Fracking operations in Lismore NSW first hand and the disaster it had inflicted upon the entire region. She warned councilors that those in authority overseas who had approved Fracking operations were now being personally sued for damages, and were councilors aware of this.

Grovedale resident Ingrid Flood reminded Council that at their last meeting, they agreed to implement their CPL10.2 Community Engagement Policy (CEP) that incorporates the IAP2 standards that requires Council to “INFORM, CONSULT INVOLVE, COLLABORATE and EMPOWER the community in its decision-making processes”.

Council’s history with Fracking has been quite the opposite approach, as Fracking did not appear in their draft Environmental Management Strategy (EMS) document late last year, and it was only through the community’s responses received earlier this
year that Council chose to investigate the matter further.

Council initially announced it would include Fracking in the revised EMS; but then decided to separate the EMS report for debate in their first August meeting, which was a process that excluded any community participation. Last Tuesday’s meeting voted to allow a 30 day period for Councilors to gain their own understanding about the issues related to Fracking while allocating a further 30 day period to receive submissions from the public prior to them voting on it some time in September.

Despite interjections from the gallery they were ignoring their CEP obligations that made their handling of the Fracking issue a mockery, Council continued to vote the motion through.

Considering the devastating environmental, human health, groundwater contamination and road transport issues this industry has had on communities throughout many countries of the world, Council’s hypocritical approach to their Community Engagement Policy left those in the gallery ‘fracked-off’.

A public meeting for those interested in helping to educate the Geelong community about Fracking will be held in the Trades Hall Auditorium on Thursday 31st July at 7pm.

Alan Manson, Frack Free Grovedale
E-mail: frackfreegrovedale@gmail.com

Let government understand we want fracking banned: Come to Torquay today!

Today: Torquay Bowls Club, The Esplanade in Torquay
– come anytime between 2pm and 8pm.

Natural Gas Community Information Open Days

Just pop in to have your say!

The more people that take part in this, the more impact it has.

• Come at 6:30pm to have your photo taken with your community! •

» More information on www.naturalgasinfo.vic.gov.au


Transition South Barwon wrote:

Govt. gas mining “Community Information Open Day” Thurs 19 June 2014

Hi,

This event is part of the State Govenrment’s push for acceptance of “onshore natural gas” (i.e.. conventional and unconventional gas).

Date: Thursday 19 June 2014

Time: 2pm-8pm

VenueTorquay Bowls Club, The Esplanade, Torquay

This event seems to have been very poorly promoted by the govenrment, but it is critical that there is strong community participation.

It looks like this is the only event for this region.

http://naturalgasinfo.vic.gov.au/community-engagement/upcoming-events

Remember that the PEP163 exploration area also covers part of Grovedale and Waurn Ponds and that the permit owners “Lakes Oil” directors include Ian Plimer – an active climate change denialist and partly onwed by Gina Reinhart. Their website states “Lakes Oil is not involved in Coal Seam Gas. We do not intend to be involved in Coal Seam Gas.” – They are targetting ways to get around the State ban on tracking as this pro-gas article shows.

If you don’t know what this might mean for our region then this simple Google image search will give you an idea.

Community opposition has already slowed and stopped a number of these projects. Now it’s our time to act. Get informed, turn up and ask the hard questions.. does it mean drilling through water aquifers… can you gain access to my property without my permission … has there been contamination to rivers in other States … etc.

I hope you can make it …

See also:

https://www.facebook.com/FrackFreeGeelong

https://www.facebook.com/FrackFreeMoriac

http://www.lockthegate.org.au

http://www.lakesoil.com.au/index.php/permits/onshore-otway-basin-vic

http://coalseamgasnews.org/opinion/

http://csgfreenorthernrivers.org

Transition South Barwon
http://transitionsouthbarwon.groupsite.com
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/initiatives/south-barwon



Frack Free Moriac wrote:

communityhearing_moriac-poster

Frack Free Geelong, Grovedale, Bellarine, Surf Coast & Moriac
 

Mayor of Geelong confirms his opposition to fracking

At the ordinary meeting of the Council of the City of Greater Geelong, the mayor and two councillors stated that they personally oppose fracking. Cr Andy Richards said the question would be addressed in the Environmental Management Strategy document when it comes back to Council in June/July. The report being presented to council at this time will be available through Council’s website on the Friday prior to the meeting, allowing sufficient time to prepare further questions to Councillors.


“If other councils have already made their stand against fracking, then why can’t Geelong Council do the same?”
Alan Manson

alan-manson-letter_collage14may2014

Fracking forgotten

Letter to the Editor by Alan Manson
Published in Geelong Independent on 23 May 2014

Last week’s Geelong Council meeting created concerns among several attendees when a lack of policy regarding Coal Seam Gas (CSG) mining was revealed.

Council’s Sustainability and Environment portfolio holder Cr Andy Richards revealed that although fracking was not mentioned in their Draft Environment Management Strategy 2013-2017, he stated that since its release, “a number of people had highlighted this oversight since submissions closed” last February.

Considering the Petroleum Exploration Permit PEP163 was issued in 2002, it is concerning that Council has preferred to remain uninformed about the dangers of CSG mining over the past 12 years while exploration wells have been drilled throughout Victoria.

To his credit, and without prompting, Cr. Irvine indicated he was well aware of the dangers CSG posed to the community, and that he would oppose it in Council.

While Cr. Richards and Mayor Lyons indicated they were personally against CSG mining, there was no indication they were committed to maintaining this position.

It is feared that once the drilling rigs begin to arrive in the Geelong region sometime next year to commence fracking, it will happen without any prior warning and will be too late to stop because the community and the council have failed to become informed about the threat CSG poses to their welfare.

The time for research, debate and a positional statement is required NOW councillors! If other councils have already made their stand against fracking, then why can’t Geelong Council do the same?

Alan Manson
Grovedale

Alan and Lyn Manson who live in Grovedale are starting up Frack Free Grovedale as a sub-group of Frack Free Geelong – with the intention to inform residents in the suburb of Grovedale about the effects of unconventional gas mining and how their properties could be under threat from such mining activities because the PEP163 permit includes Grovedale.

For more information about this initiative, Alan Manson can be contacted via email on frackfreegrovedale@gmail.com


Left out some key facts

In a note on Facebook, Councillor Andy Richard posted the following response to Alan Manson’s Letter to the Editor:

Hi Frack Free Geelong, having been a political activist for several years, I admire your commitment to getting the fracking issue on the local political agenda. However, in your report you have left out some key facts.

Firstly, your report omits the fact that the issue of council’s position on fracking came to light during the public submissions period for council’s Environmental Management Strategy earlier this year, along with several other environment and sustainability issues. My colleagues on Surf Coast shire raised it with me earlier this year, so effectively as a political issue it has only been on council’s agenda to deal with in the last four months. As a result, council officers decided to conduct further work on the EMS and that work is continuing.

Secondly, your story omits the answer I gave you in the council chamber on the night in question, which is that when the EMS comes back to the chamber for sign off later this year, that is when we will deal with fracking. As I said to you on the night, that is likely to be by the end of July, and possibly earlier. That is still the case. Given that the council is dealing with it’s second directly elected mayor in eighteen months and the fact that we are the biggest council in Victoria, this is an adequate time frame.

Thirdly, I am uncertain as to what the point of your statement that “there is no indication that Cr Richards will remain opposed to fracking.” Under the logic you have applied here, do I have to get up in Council each week and restate a position on fracking? I don’t think so. In public statements I make in the chamber, I do my best not to mislead the public as the tends to destroy the public’s trust in you (as the Prime Minister is currently finding out).

Finally, if your ask is that council establish a position on fracking in a timely fashion within the next three months, then that is what you are getting. Of course, it is up to other councillors as to what they think about fracking. Maybe you should ask them…



Question to the mayor about fracking

Transcript of Mik Aidt’s question to the Mayor of Geelong Cr Darryn Lyons at the ordinary council meeting on 13 May 2014:

“My name is Mik Aidt and I run a weekly radio program about sustainability on our local community radio, called ‘The Sustainable Hour’ on 94.7 The Pulse.

I am also a father to three small children – and the way I see it, they are actually the reason I am here tonight, and asking a question – which I am going to direct to you, the Mayor – it is because I am worried as a father.

I think, when trying to be a responsible parent, we have some problems in our society at the moment, and the biggest one of them is that I think we should listen to what science is telling us – they are almost screaming it 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.

It’s time to switch over to solar, to wind, to hydro power instead, and the good news is that there are so many – many many! – good reasons to start doing that, economically, health-wise, and so on. The list is long.

But, what keeps me worried is that, even so, it is not really happening. Not at the rate and at the scale which the scientists are advicing us we should be doing this.

Before I get to my question, I’d just like to recommend and congratulate everyone here in the Council for what you were doing this weekend, for your support to the ‘M~M 2014’ event that we saw in the weekend which I think was one of the most extraordinary experiences, personally, that I’ve had in the time that I have lived here in Geelong, and thanks to you, it was lifted up to that level as it was. That was fantastic. It was beautiful. I am personally grateful for that.

At the same time, that Mountain to Mouth walk was all about – as I understood it – to connect to this land that we live on – and that’s what my question is about: It’s about our connection to the land that we live on.

Especially when it comes to this question gas mining, fracking, as it is called – unconventional gas mining.

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 that we have at the moment is going to run out.

And whether or not it will be extended – that is not a discussion I am going to go into. Certainly the moratorium will eventually run out.

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 know that! – instead of going over to solar, wind and hydro, and so on, as our main sources for electricity – it is also 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 negative effects on our health, on our environment and the climate are all very well documented by now, and I assume you are also well aware of that.

So the only reason that fracking is taking place and happening, especially in Queensland, but also now 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, while we, the rate payers, are left with all the bills to pay and the destruction of our land.

So the question that I’d like to ask you, our mayor, Darryn Lyons, is because at the time when you were running for mayor, during the election, we put out a questionnaire for our radio program, asking sustainability questions to all the 16 candidates, and at the time you replied that you oppose unconventional gas mining and fracking.

At that time, I was pleased to hear that, but now we have seen you work as a mayor for half a year, and I haven’t heard a single word about fracking coming from your mouth since then, while we see other councils – Moyne Shire Council, Surf Coast Shire Council – making a clear stand, calling for a ban on fracking. So my question to you is:

Are you still against unconventional gas mining and fracking in our region, and if you are, what action are you planning in regard to the drilling licence to Lakes Oil under the Exploration Permit 163?

And if you have changed your mind since these days when you were in your election campaign, if you have decided no longer to be against fracking, then I would ask you to kindly provide us with what new data you have found reassuring in regards to health and safety.”


Mayor Cr Darryn Lyons:
“Well, first of all, I haven’t been asked the question. That is why I haven’t spoken about it. But my original personal view – not the view of the Council’s – is exactly the same as it was. But I would like to hand over to Cr Richards, who has asked to comment on this question as well.”

Cr Andy Richards then told that he doesn’t support fracking either, and a few minutes later Cr John Irvine stepped in, sounding somewhat upset about it. “I’m VERY opposed to fracking,” he stated and explained that he had recently seen a documentary about the issues.


No united stand on the issue
However, it also came clear that the council has not yet had a discussion or a vote about its position on fracking.

Cr Andy Richards told that his own family comes from Queensland, and he is well aware of the health impacts that fracking is having there. He promised that the issue “will be dealt with properly” in the council in the coming months.

Council’s position on fracking will be addressed in the Environmental Management Strategy which is undergoing considerable redevelopment and which will come before Council in late June, early July 2014.



MINUTES – ORDINARY MEETING OF COUNCIL

Tuesday, 13 May 2014 – Held at the Council Conference and Reception Centre City Hall, Little Malop Street, Geelong, commencing at 7.00p.m.

» Download or open the full document here:  Minutes (PDF)


QUESTION TIME

Mik Aidt directed his question to the Mayor:

It looks like fracking operations could begin in our region from next year, when the state moratorium on fracking runs out. You stated during the mayoral election period that you oppose unconventional gas mining and fracking. At the time, I was happy to hear that, but I wonder why we don’t hear anything from you on this topic. So I’d like to ask you: If you still are against unconventional gas mining and fracking in our region, what action you are planning regarding the drilling licences in the region to Lakes Oil under the Exploration Permit 163? If you have changed your mind since the days of your election campaign and no longer are against fracking, then would you kindly provide us with the new data that you have found reassuring with regards to health and safety to date?

The Mayor responded that he hasn’t been asked the question, but his original personal view remains unchanged.
Cr Richards added throughout his time he also hasn’t been asked the question. Comments regarding fracking were received through the exhibition process of the Environmental Management Strategy, which is due to be presented back to Council June or early July and will consider this matter.



Alan Manson directed his question to Cr Richards:

1) What discussion has the City of Greater Geelong had to date in relation to fracking and the possible effects PEP 163 might have within the municipality?
2) Would Council consider joining Moyne and other Councils in opposing fracking from being permitted within its municipality? If so, could you please explain how Council might engage in this.

The Mayor left the meeting room at 7.50pm

Cr Richards responded fracking would be addressed within the Environmental Management Strategy due back to Council June or early July.

The Mayor re-entered the meeting room at 7.52pm


Lyn Manson also directed her questions to Cr Richards:

1) I would like to know what understanding you have about the environmental dangers that come with this form of mining, and in particular the damage it would have on our community aquifer, the air quality and the drinking water?
2) I would like you to explain your reasons why you support or oppose unconventional coal seam gas mining?

Cr Richards reiterated the questions would be addressed in the Environmental Management Strategy document when it comes back to Council in June/July. The report being presented to Council at this time will be available through Council’s website on the Friday prior to the meeting, allowing sufficient time to prepare further questions to Councillors.
Cr Richards added he personally opposes fracking.




Petition: Council urged to act on fracking

Frack Free Geelong has set up a petition to urge the Council to make a clear stand on the issue of gas mining in our area. If you would like to sign it, go to www.frackfreegeelong.org/petition

 

FrackFreeGeelong_641_byMikAidt

Frack Free Geelong members have literally put their bodies on the line, marking out the edge of the PEP163 gas exploration license in the heart of Highton to get the City of Greater Geelong’s attention.

More than two dozen anti-fracking protesters lined up from the corner of Barabool Road and Marcus Street, Highton, to demonstrate with hazard tape the exploration license’s proximity to schools and homes.

Frack Free Geelong spokeswoman Elizabeth Packett said the purpose of the event was to raise awareness about how much the license was infringing on the urban environment, and to urge Geelong council to take a stand on gas mining in the area.

To date the council has not stated its position on the issue and the citizen group has urged councillors to do so. The state moratorium against fracking, which runs until June 2015, does not protect Geelong and the Surf Coast from exploration drilling.

“We need to know that the council is taking the threat to Geelong residents seriously, and will represent us by calling on the resources minister to remove residential areas, as well as water catchment areas such as the Anglesea borefield, from the exploration license,” said Ms Packett.

“Colac Otway and Surf Coast councils have already expressed their concerns about the industry to the minister. We need to know where Geelong council stands.”

Greens candidate for western region Lloyd Davies and Surf Coast Shire councillor Eve Fisher both attended Saturday’s event.

“Fracking has me terrified, there is just no other way to put it,” Cr Fisher said.

“To think that residents in Waurn Ponds and Highton – as well as much of Surf Coast Shire – may have fracking wells on their door steps beggars belief.”

Cars tooted their support as the Frack Free Geelong members made their way along Barabool Road and up Marcus Street.

“This industry is on, and even over, our doorsteps. We were shocked to find that the current PEP163 exploration license goes over suburban and residential areas of Geelong, and covers parts of Waurn Ponds and Highton,” said Ms Packett.


PETITION

Frack Free Geelong calls on the City of Greater Geelong council to recognise the community’s concern about coal seam gas and other forms of unconventional gas mining and advocate for the prevention of further gas exploration and mining in the area.

Frack Free Geelong recommends the Council to move a motion similar to the following:

1) That Council advocates to the state and federal governments for a ban on new gas exploration and mining/extraction in the City of Greater Geelong until it is proven to be safe.

2) That Council works with the community to stop gas exploration, extraction or mining by keeping the community up to date with all relevant information as it becomes available, and by providing resource support to community groups.

3) That Council opposes gas exploration, extraction, mining or infrastructural work on land it owns or manages until it is proven to be safe.

4) That council incorporates this position into its Environmental Management Strategy which is currently out for public comments.

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

 


Residents oppose fracking

residents-opp_GAdvt-2014-56

► Geelong Advertiser – 15 February 2014:
Residents oppose fracking
Article by Andria Cozza


Miner’s disinterest fails to deter fracking protesters

miners-disinterest_GI-2014-02-14

► Geelong Independent – 14 February 2014:
Miner’s disinterest fails to deter fracking protesters
Article by John van Klaveren


Group urges council to show its stance on fracking

surf-coast_6feb_560

Surf Coast Times – 6 February 2014
By James Taylor


 

About the Surf Coast Motion

Frack Free Geelong commends the Surf Coast Shire Council and Barwon Water for taking the concerns of their constituents seriously.

Frack Free Geelong congratulates both the Surf Coast Shire Council and Barwon Water for their recent public statements of concern about the negative impacts which they believe the exploration and extraction of unconventional gas will have in our area.

Now we would like to see the City of Greater Geelong council, and Barwon Health along with Barwon Water make a very clear stand against this practice.

» More info on www.frackfreegeelong.org/the-surf-coast-motion


About the Environmental Management Strategy 2013-2017

The City of Greater Geelong council is currently drafting their Environmental Management Strategy 2013-2017, but as yet, there is no mention of gas mining within this paper. Frack Free Geelong encourages all citizens who understand that this is an important strategy document for Geelong, and who are concerned abut the environmental impacts of fracking in our region, to send a personal message to the Council asking them to consider adding a section about the Council’s position on fracking.

» It can be as simple as sending an email to: environment@geelongcity.vic.gov.au

» Or go to this page and fill in the form: www.geelongaustralia.com.au/council/yoursay/consult/item/8d0cae103b24f87.aspx

» Before submitting a response, take a look at the draft strategy paper here:  ‘Environmental Management Strategy 2013-2017’

» More info on www.frackfreegeelong.org/tell-geelong-council-to-take-a-strategic-stand-on-fracking


» More info about coming events on www.frackfreegeelong.org/next-meetings

 

 

Host a Gasland house party on Earth Day

Millions of people around the world have seen the American documentary films ‘Gasland’ and ‘Gasland Part II’ because people share the film with family and friends who then instantly join the anti-fracking movement as a result of this.

“We’ve kept the pressure on our elected officials from the local level all the way up to the President, and in many places taken our democracy back and banned fracking for good,” writes the film’s director, Josh Fox, who now recommends you to sign up to host a house party screening of ‘Gasland Part II’ on Earth Day.

Once you sign up Josh Fox and his team will send you all the information you need to host a house party and join the call. The film is two hours and was shown at Beav’s Bar in Geelong on 18 March 2014. It is a powerful, creative and captivating film which was nominated for an Oscar.

New campaign to move towards 100% renewable energy
“This Earth Day, we want to continue this rich tradition of working together,” Josh Fox writes, and he will be hosting a special call that night to talk about the anti-fracking movement and a new campaign to move towards 100% renewable energy.

“The fossil fuel industry has spent a lot of time and money spreading their misinformation campaigns, claiming fracking is safe and natural gas is a clean, bridge fuel. It’s up to us to continue to share the truth. Commit to doing just that this Earth Day.

We believe that if we keep working together and tackle these problems as communities, we’ll not only be able to move to 100% renewable energy, but we’ll build a democracy that can’t be sacrificed for oil and gas profits.”


If you can’t host a screening that night, don’t worry. Sign up anyway and the Gasland team will send you a link to a video from Josh that you can play to introduce the film on another day.”

» If you’d like to host a community screening at a local venue instead of your home, send an email to screenings@gaslandthemovie.com.

» This is where you can  sign up to host a Gasland Part II screening house party


‘Gasland Part II’ – Film evening at Beav’s

Tuesday 18 March, 7pm, Beav’s Bar, 77 Lt Malop St

Frack Free Geelong presents the acclaimed documentary film ‘Gasland Part II’.  It is a must see for anyone who wants to know more about the impact of gas mining and fracking.

» You can help promote the event on Facebook by copying this link and paste it on a Facebook wall or page:

» More info about the film ‘Gasland Part II’: www.gaslandthemovie.com 


GaslandIIfilm-evening18Ma880px
Click to see larger version

» Click here to open, download or print A4-sized PDF document (4 MB): pdf-ikon-STORT

 


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Reith’s Gas Market report released for public comment

The full Gas Market Taskforce report has been provided to the Victorian Government and is being released for public comment.

It would be fantastic to get heaps of submissions in from members of Frack Free Geelong. Submissions are due by the end of March 2014.

“The Gas Market Taskforce, chaired by former Federal Minister Peter Reith, was established in January 2013 by Premier Ted Baillieu to examine gas supply issues. The release of this report demonstrates the Victorian Coalition Government’s commitment to full public consultation about how Victoria should address these important issues.

The Government will consider a wealth of information from a variety of sources in order to gain a full and comprehensive understanding of this issue before moving forward.
The Government received the final report on November 1, 2013 and will now consider its findings and respond in due course. The report will be one input the Government considers to build a comprehensive picture of the issues around gas policy.

The Government will consult widely on these issues and there will be future opportunities for community input.”


Noah Beecher Kelk wrote:
“Quit Coal is working on producing a fairly long and detailed one but if you don’t have time for that then don’t worry! I’ve put together a few dot points that you can use some or all of. The submissions only need to be a paragraph long, but they can be as long as you want! I have some more technical points that a few more knowledgable Quit Coalers put together so if you want to really sink your teeth into a response then email me back and I’ll pass them on.

The most important thing is that we want to make it clear to the government that WE DO NOT WANT THIS INDUSTRY.

So if you want to completely ignore my dot points that is totally fine, just speak from your heart about why you oppose the development of an onshore gas industry.

The link is here: www.energyandresources.vic.gov.au/about-us/publications/Gas-Market-Taskforce-report
NB: You must click on ‘Feedback’ at the bottom.

If anyone has questions or problems with the website etc., feel free to call me on 0403 274 103.

Yours,
Noah Beecher Kelk
Quit Coal”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Report is heavily biased – why were there gas industry members on the supposedly impartial taskforce?

Report only addresses ‘how to make the industry most effective’ without first asking ‘should we have this industry’?

Affected communities need to be consulted – without their input, no report is adequate;

Ignores widespread community opposition and participatory democracy that has been organised at ground level;

Report ignores widespread complaints against fracking from Queensland and NSW, and overseas;

Report claims we need more gas for Victoria when there is more than enough coming from offshore wells, for example in the Bass Strait;

Report is a thinly veiled attempt to create an export industry to allow large corporations to increase their profit margin by selling to an overseas market instead of the cheaper domestic market;

Linking the domestic market with the overseas market will cause domestic prices to skyrocket. Peter Reith is aware of this and claims that destroying farmland with unconventional gas mining is the only way to offset this;

In fact there are many alternatives including storing gas for domestic use, finding alternative power sources such as renewable energy, and alternative chemical feedstocks such as biochar.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

GasmarketTaskforce-rep-co56

Annoyingly there’s no ability to upload word documents/bigger submissions. Must use online submission form.

The link is here: www.energyandresources.vic.gov.au/about-us/publications/Gas-Market-Taskforce-report
NB: You must click on ‘Feedback’ at the bottom.

Gas field hazard marked out

A large zone of land, running from Highton to Anglesea, is currently under licence for gas exploration. On Saturday the 15th of February at 2pm, Frack Free Geelong, a community based group who are opposed to gas exploration and mining in the region, hope to bring attention to this issue by marking out a section of the zone with hazard tape.

“As we’ve seen from overseas and interstate, fracking poses serious threats to our health, drinking water, rivers, farmland, and other industries, particularly tourism,” said Elizabeth Packett, spokesperson for Frack Free Geelong.

“We want to raise awareness of this issue in our region by physically marking out an area where a potential gas field could lie. People will be shocked to learn that it’s on the same land as private homes, businesses, churches, kindergartens, sports clubs, Deakin University and even the Highton Cemetery.”

“The state moratorium against fracking, which runs until June 2015, does not protect us from exploration drilling. The mining companies could start that any day, and if they find gas, you can be assured they will do everything they can to extract it. The exploration drilling in itself is a huge investment costing millions of dollars for which these companies will expect a return.”
 

Concerned citizens are invited to join
“Gas mining is a choice, and if we choose to go down that road, we are locking ourselves into continued fossil fuel addiction for decades. According to the latest peer-reviewed climate science, this is the last thing we should be doing. We have other choices. There is no shortage of sun or wind in our area,” explained Elizabeth Packett.

Frack Free Geelong welcomes people who share our concerns to join our event on the 15th of February. Depending on the response from the City of Greater Geelong Council, the group may launch a petition on the day, asking the Mayor and Councillors to make a commitment to ban gas mining within its borders.

In November 2013, Surf Coast Shire Council addressed the issues of fracking in the region by putting a motion forward to state government in support of a permanent ban on coal seam gas exploration.

Saturday 15th of February 2014 at 2pm: Meet at the corner of Scenic Road and Barrabool Road in Highton.

 

Click on map to see larger size map
Click on map to see larger size map

 

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Click on map to see larger size map

 

High resolution photos for download:
» www.frackfreegeelong.org/download

 

Frack Free Geelong are a newly formed community group concerned about the risk that coal, coal seam gas, tight gas and shale gas exploration will have on Geelong and the Surf Coast. The group currently consists of approximately 400 concerned citizens in the Geelong region.

Follow the group on Facebook:
» www.facebook.com/frackfreegeelong

 

 

 

 

 


BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Frack Free Geelong calls on the City of Greater Geelong Council to recognise the community’s concern about coal seam gas and other forms of unconventional gas mining and advocate for the prevention of further gas exploration and mining in the City of Greater Geelong.

Frack Free Geelong recommends the Council to move a motion similar to the following:

1) That Council advocates to the state and federal governments for a ban on new gas exploration and mining/extraction in the City of Greater Geelong until it is proven to be safe.

2) That Council works with the community to stop gas exploration, extraction or mining by keeping the community up to date with all relevant information as it becomes available, and by providing resource support to community groups.

3) That Council opposes gas exploration, extraction, mining or infrastructural work on land it owns or manages until it is proven to be safe.

4) That council incorporates this position into its Environmental Management Strategy which is currently out for public comments.

 

 

About the Surf Coast Motion

Frack Free Geelong commends the Surf Coast Shire Council and Barwon Water for taking the concerns of their constituents seriously.

Frack Free Geelong congratulates both the Surf Coast Shire Council and Barwon Water for their recent public statements of concern about the negative impacts which they believe the exploration and extraction of unconventional gas will have in our area.

Now we would like to see the City of Greater Geelong Council, and Barwon Health along with Barwon Water make a very clear stand against this practice.

» More about The Surf Coast motion
 

 

 

About the Environmental Management Strategy 2013-2017

The Geelong City Council is currently drafting their Environmental Management Strategy 2013-2017, but as yet, there is no mention of gas mining within this paper. Frack Free Geelong encourages all citizens who understand that this is an important strategy document for Geelong, and who are concerned abut the environmental impacts of fracking in our region, to send a personal message to the Council asking them to consider adding a section about the Council’s position on fracking.

It can be as simple as sending an email to: environment@geelongcity.vic.gov.au or go to this page and fill in the form:
» www.geelongaustralia.com.au/council/yoursay/consult/item/8d0cae103b24f87.aspx

Before submitting a response, take a look at the draft strategy paper here:
» ‘Environmental Management Strategy 2013-2017’

 

 


Media release
About Frack Free Geelong’s action event on Saturday the 15th of February at 2pm, where Frack Free Geelong hopes to bring attention to this issue by marking out a section of the zone with hazard tape.
5 February 2014



» COMING EVENTS


Tell Geelong Council to take a strategic stand on fracking

gee_EMScover200Speak up! for a frack free Geelong

Geelong City Council is in the process of finalising an important strategy document called the ‘Environmental Management Strategy 2013-2017’.

The environmental concerns over the new gas mining and fracking in our region aren’t even mentioned in this strategy paper. According to what Rodney Thomas, Manager of City of Greater Geelong’s Environment & Waste Services, stated in The Sustainable Hour on 94.7 The Pulse on Wednesday, if there were a considerable response from Geelong citizens on this topic (before 28 February 2014), the council would consider adding a paragraph or a section about their position on fracking in the strategy document.

 

So… what this means is that we all need to comment on this.

It can be as simple as sending an email to: environment@geelongcity.vic.gov.au, or go to this page and fill in the form.

All you need to say is that this is an issue that you are concerned about and that you would like to see it included as a matter of importance in this document. If possible, please use your own words as it will make a greater impact than if we all say the same thing.

 

» Before you submit your response, take a look at the draft strategy paper here: ‘Environmental Management Strategy 2013-2017’


Frack Free Geelong’s response to the EMS draft

“In failing to regulate, the Council is essentially promoting new, high-risk fossil fuel extraction in Geelong region. This is a blow for Geelong citizens, for the environment, and for the Environment Management Strategy.”

» This is the collective response from the Frack Free Geelong group, submitted to the council on 28 January 2014: Reponse from FFG on EMS draft




27 January 2014

 

The Manager
Environment and Waste Services
City of Greater Geelong
P.O. Box 104
Geelong 3220

Dear Sir,

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Draft Environment Management Strategy 2013-2017.

Frack Free Geelong would like to congratulate CoGG on the quality of its EMS and would like to make the following suggestions about it. We propose that the CoGG Environment Management Strategy:

 

1. expresses the Council of Greater Geelong’s support for the continuation of the current moratorium in Victoria on gas exploration and operations; and

2. ensures that no gas mining will be allowed in Greater Geelong before a comprehensive investigation has been conducted into the likely effects of unconventional gas exploration and mining on public health, the environment, agriculture and food security, local communities and tourism.

 

Rationale

The State Government is currently considering a report on coal seam gas mining in Victoria. The report recommends support for coal seam gas mining, including hydraulic fracturing, proceeding in Victoria.

Currently, the state government has approved two unconventional gas explorations in the region – one for coal seam gas held by Western Victoria Energy Pty Ltd and one for tight gas held by Mirboo Ridge Pty Ltd (Lakes Oil).

In failing to regulate, the Council is essentially promoting new, high-risk fossil fuel extraction in Geelong region. This is a blow for Geelong citizens, for the environment, and for the Environment Management Strategy.

There are significant potential risks from coal seam gas, tight gas and shale gas mining, including adverse impacts on key industries like tourism and agriculture, public health and wellbeing implications and environmental implications, potential contamination of groundwater.

Unconventional gas mining is a matter of serious concern to communities in the region of Geelong. Community meetings on fracking have been held in Torquay on 1 October, Moriac on 13 November 2013, Deans Marsh on 25 November 2013 and in Geelong on 12 December 2013. A meeting is scheduled for 2 February in Apollo Bay, and meetings are also being planned in Armstrong Creek and Bellbrae.

These communities are preparing campaigns which will declaring themselves ‘coal seam gas’ free consistent with ‘Lock the Gate’ campaigns conducted in Queensland, New South Wales and Gippsland, and are establishing action plans should the gas mining companies start to explore in their area. (For more information on this, see www.frackfreegeelong.org).

While the concern of Geelong’s citizens is to protect the city’s aquifers, it is also about protecting the atmosphere from more pollution with greenhouse gases, and the climate change which is caused by this air pollution. Pushing ahead with gas extraction is a waste of effort and capital at a time when we need to be looking for ways to use less, not more fossil fuels.

It is actually very disturbing that exploration for gas mining has been allowed at all without any environmental impact assessments, clear separation distances and bans in environmentally-sensitive areas.

The Surf Coast Shire Council resolved on 22 August 2012 to call on the Victorian Government to institute a moratorium on all new coal seam gas exploration and operations until there had been a comprehensive investigation into the likely effects of the industry on the environment and local communities. This investigation has still not occurred. It is critical that a comprehensive investigation be conducted and the results shared with the public before the State Government gives any consideration to lifting the current moratorium.

Sincerely yours,
Elizabeth Packett

 
on behalf of
Frack Free Geelong
– a local community group
www.frackfreegeelong.org

 

 

 

 


Council’s environment strategy must take a clear stand on fracking
Media release about Frack Free Geelong’s submission commenting on City of Greater Geelong Council’s draft Environmental Management Strategy
30 January 2014
» Webpage: www.frackfreegeelong.org/tell-geelong-council-to-take-a-strategic-stand-on-fracking



 

Appendix

 

Farming for coal, gas

Letter to the Editor, 24 January 2014, in Geelong Independent:

Coal and coal seam gas exploration licences cover large areas to the west of Geelong, along the coast as far as Anglesea and Port Campbell and across the Bellarine Peninsula.

Farmers can be forced to permit companies to carry out exploration and, after obtaining the relevant licences, commence drilling, fracking or mining on their properties.

Coal seam gas extraction with associated fracking can result in water polution, reduced water availability and salinity. The extraction process involves the use and transport of heavy equipment and many trucks. The large vehicles servicing drilling rigs, travel country roads frequently and can cause serious damage to roads.

Pipes traversing the paddocs can be a hazard.

These are problems frequently reported by farmers in New South Wales and Queensland. Valuable farmland might eventually be lost, causing reduced food production.

Farmers are becoming more concerned about the threat posed by coal seam gas and coal mining and are attending information meetings in country halls.

Perhaps our politicians are taking notice.

 

Joan Lindros and Rod Clark
Geelong Environment Council

 

 

 


Group urges council to show its stance on fracking

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Surf Coast Times – 6 February 2014
By James Taylor


 

 

Barwon Water supports moratorium, but… is that all?


barwon-water-about-fracking

Barwon Water – Victoria’s largest regional water corporation – was asked for a comment on the report from Western Australia that the Water Corporation there wants a ban on fracking.

Their reply, via Facebook, was:

“Barwon Water supports the Victorian Government’s current moratorium on coal seam gas mining. Barwon Water would object to any proposal deemed detrimental to the region’s water resources.”



To which Mik Aidt replied – via Facebook – in this way:

“Thank you for the reply. Highly appreciated.

I am aware that Facebook is probably not the place we should be discussing these matters, but it appears to me as if your answer is somewhat speaking in riddles, leaving a lot open for interpretation. And yes, I know you have to watch your mouth with this, because otherwise you’d need to get clearance from here and there in the organisation before you could write anything.

But let me elaborate, so you understand what I am trying to say:

1)
In your first sentence you seem to be saying: “Barwon Water is happy with the temporary ban on fracking and coal seam gas mining, but we do not – like the WA’s Water Corporation did, (according to that article which I was refering you to) – wish to call out loud for fracking to be banned in areas where it affects drinking water sources (on the grounds that the contamination risks simply are unacceptable for us).”

OK then. But… why not?

This was what I was asking: Will you make a statement as strong as Water Corp did – or won’t you? And if not, then WHY NOT?

I mean, when the WA Water Corporation can do it, then why can’t – or won’t – Barwon Water do something similar? To me, that seems strange. Aren’t both companies dealing with the same substance: WATER?

So what exactly is holding you back from making a more bold statement and taking a more bold position? Politics? But… is Barwon Water a political organisation? Or are you there to protect the interests of the people who drink your water?

2)
In your second sentence you are saying something I think very few people would criticise you for. But you are not saying whether you find GAS MINING and FRACKING in Geelong’s farmland something which is “detrimental to the region’s water resources”.
I would very much like to know what your stand is on fracking, in reference to the presentations which citizens of Geelongs were listening to at a public meeting about fracking in mid-December – (you can read quotes and listen to the speeches here: http://climatesafety.info/?p=5700 )
Who will decide whether the fracking in our region is “detrimental to the region’s water resources”? Will Barwon Water make its own independent research and investigation? Or will you leave that up to the Victorian Government to decide?
As you most likely know, but can’t talk about, is that what we are up against here is those assurances from government sources, politicians or from the gas industry itself are absolutely worthless.
Professor Anthony Ingraffea says “6 percent of the pipes fail immidiately. 60 percent fail after 20 years. And they all fail eventually.”
“So when we get the spin from this industry telling us that it is all safe and we are looking after you, we know that that is lying. That is not true.”
Quote: Ian Gaillard, Lock the Gate Northern Rivers

So, summing up, or to refrase the question: I’d be very pleased if you could let me know more in detail HOW you expect to find out about whether the gas mining in our region is “detrimental to the region’s water resources” – and also WHEN you expect this to be determined. As you might have heard, gas mining companies are moving in in the beginning of 2014 to start the drilling… so you if you are serious about your objection to any proposal deemed detrimental to the region’s water resources, you don’t have that much time any longer to make up your mind about it.

Looking forward to hear and learn more.”


We are waiting for a response from Barwon Water.