Category Archives: News

Lisa Neville opposes fracking – but does Labor?

Environment opposition spokeswoman Lisa Neville of the Labor Party gave an address at the annual MAV Environment Conference in Melbourne on Wednesday 1 May 2014. She was asked if Labor would ban fracking should it be elected in November, and replied:

“We do not support fracking – at the moment. We do not believe there should be any approvals without the assessments on the impact on local communities, on the environment, on the health, on the water supplies, and unless the reports show that everything is fine, we will not support fracking.”


A resident of Geelong, Lisa Neville represents the Australian Labor Party and is currently serving as the member for Bellarine in the Victorian Legislative Assembly.

Four weeks later, in the end of May 2014, ALP released its ‘Platform’ for the state election in November. In this paper, they write:

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

» See the 88-page document here: www.viclabor.com.au



This is a very disappointing statement which calls for some further explanation and clarification from AFL: So what are they saying?

How can interests of the mining industry’s extractive industry operations be “equitably balanced” with environmental concerns when the environmental damage is already so well documented as far as poisoned water, leaked methane and dreadful impacts (many which occur decades after the drilling has ended) are concerned?

This “equitably balanced” statement means that Lisa Neville’s statement of 1 May 2014 is no longer credible.

The Labor Party will need to explain if it is now the party’s official policy to trust the glossy PR material from the gas mining industry where it claims that its operations are “clean”, “safe” and “green” (“better than coal”), or if they accept the scientific research and the numerous reports which give evidence that the industry cannot be trusted. That it is at times directly lying, at other times conveniently manipulating with the figures.

Considering the seriousness and urgency of the climate change crisis, there is no “equitably balanced” way to deal with the gas mining questions. Demanding a permanent ban on fracking is the only position that makes environmental sense and shows concern and responsibility towards the coming generations.



Public consultations about fracking

“New, competitively priced, gas discoveries are important to maintain Victoria’s advantage in providing secure, affordable energy. Victoria should consider its options for gas supply from all sources as existing gas reserves are forecast to be depleted by 2030-2040. However, we will be doing so in a careful and considered way, to make sure that any future developments protect the environment and can co-exist with communities and existing industries.”

This is how the Victorian government replies to the question “Is Victoria looking for new sources of natural gas supply?”
» See on:  Natural Gas Community Information – Frequently asked questions

With this statement as the starting point, you may ask yourself if there is any point in engaging in the so-called “Public consultation” process which the government opened recently. As far as many of us are concerned, providing “secure, affordable energy” does not mean drilling for more gas. In our time it means putting up solar power plants and wind farms.

Even so, it is important that we engage in this consultation process. We must make our voices heard, we must express our concern. We must always try and educate the best we can why fracking is a wrong and stupid path to go down – even when we assume we aren’t going to be listened to anyway – but in this case, you’ll be doing fine if you simply say ‘no!’.

“Learn how you can get involved with the Victorian Government community and stakeholder consultation process regarding onshore natural gas in Victoria.”


You get involved by registering your interest (if you live in the Geelong, Surf Coast and Bellarine region, tick: Barwon South West) and thereby you are letting the government know that you would like to be kept informed about the meetings and workshops which are being organised.

Register your interest in being involved in the consultation. And keep it simple: just say ‘No!’

» Register here:  www.naturalgasinfo.vic.gov.au/community-engagement/upcoming-events

» Home page:   www.naturalgasinfo.vic.gov.au

» Some extra info here:  http://www.foemelbourne.org.au/just_say_no


Media coverage

Environment and community groups have welcomed the new public consultation process about onshore so-called “natural gas” developments:

MPs-feel-fracking-heat_G-In

» Geelong Independent, page 3 – 1 May 2014:
Activists step up campaign as website launched: MPs feel fracking heat
Anti-fracking activists are pressuring local Liberal MPs as State Government seeks public input on possible coal seam gas projects. Article by Noel Murphy


Picture 43

» ABC News:
Public consultations about onshore natural gas
Report from Deans March and Surf Coast on 30 April 2014 (2 minutes on tv)

» Friends of the Earth:
Community consultation on gas welcomed

» Geelong Region Alliance:
Community urged to put views on gas exploration
Surf Coast Shire Council is encouraging local residents to get involved in the State Government’s community consultation process on unconventional gas exploration.



» Go to  www.naturalgasinfo.vic.gov.au to get involved