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.