Government pulls strings to protect gas industry

The Victorian Government vets where onshore gas miners can speak and has alerted them not to speak at a public event in Geelong.

Frack Free Geelong media release – 15 September 2014

“We find it extremely disappointing that a community group which wants to show and discuss both sides of the ‘fracking’ story haven’t been able to do so,” said Frack Free Geelong spokesperson Chris Johnson.

Frack Free Geelong is a community network of over 600 citizens who are concerned that onshore gas extraction will turn Geelong region into an industrial zone polluting the air, contaminating aquifers and causing real estate value to drop.

“We felt it important that the community got both sides of this very controversial issue. Accordingly we invited Lakes Oil CEO Mr Robert J. Annells to address our information evening which is going to be held this Thursday night. Lakes Oil holds Petroleum Exploration Permit 163 to drill for gas in this region, an area which stretches from the Surf Coast to Highton in Geelong.”

In an email, Mr Arnells’ secretary declined the invitation while explaining his decline in the following way: “We have been alerted by the Victorian government’s Primary Agency to speak at events that are only run by approved government bodies that provide controlled, open and impartial dialogue.”

“Who is protecting who in this onshore gas game? And what is it they are afraid of?,” asked Ms Johnson: “This makes us wonder just how seriously the Napthine government is taking people’s concerns about fracking as well as its moratorium extension. Is this just a ploy to take it off the election agenda? Why do they feel that Lakes Oil need protecting? Who is on their list of ‘approved organisations’ and what criteria have been used to select these?”

“When you look at the 31-page pamphlet Lakes Oil’s has produced to tell about their gas mining activities in Victoria, why is the whole first page used to bring a disclaimer with a lawyer’s text that basically says that the company can’t be taken to court even if what is states in the pamphlet turns out to be false? What kind of business is this? We must demand answers to these questions from the Napthine government,” stated Ms Johnson.

“We can assure both Mr Napthine and Lakes Oil that the meeting’s moderator, the well-respected Diversitat CEO Mr Michael Martinez will be encouraging people to be open and impartial. The speakers will be presenting facts, and the audience will be encouraged to make comments and ask questions. Inspite of Lakes Oil’s non-attendance, we will still try our best to give their side of the issue as well.”


The public meeting about onshore gas extraction is held at Manifold Heights Baptist Church on Thursday 18 September 2014 at 7pm. Admission is free. More information about the program on

High resolution photos for download:

Frack Free Geelong are a community group concerned about the risk that coal, coal seam gas, tight gas and shale gas exploration will have on Geelong, Bellarine Peninsula and the Surf Coast. The group currently consists of approximately 600 concerned citizens in the Geelong region.

Have your say on fracking

The closing date for submissions to Council about fracking is Friday 26 September.

Frack Free Geelong encourages every citizen in Geelong to “have your say” on this matter. Even a sentence or two counts, by email, online or in the mail.

» Submissions can be sent to Geelong Council via this webpage:



Media coverage

Geelong Independent – 19 September 2014

» Geelong Independent – 19 September 2014:
Fuel boss ‘gagged’ on fracking
Government ‘pulling strings’, claim activists. Article by John van Klaveren