Media coverage – local news

» Shortcut to [ Letters to the Editor ]

Victorian Auditor General: report

“Communities across Gippsland and Western Victoria are relieved and heartened that today’s Victorian Auditor General’s report has warned the government that well recognised risks may make unconventional gas mining unsuitable for Victoria because of it’s dense population, scarce water resources, and high reliance on agriculture.
The report, called ‘Unconventional Gas: Managing Risks and Impacts’, released this morning, outlines that “substantial national and international studies have comprehensively identified the potential and known risks that unconventional gas poses to the environment and the community … Environmental and social values are integral to this conversation if we are to avoid a damaging legacy in years to come.”
It points out the gross inadequacy of the current regime for regulating earth resources, stating “the regime has too few environmental controls, and weak consideration of the competing interests for land involved and potential social impacts”.”
Friends of the Earth media release, 19 August 2015, ‘Communities heartened by Auditor General’s warning of potential “damaging legacy” over unconventional gas mining’

The Auditor General’s report has come out and it couldn’t be more positive, short of calling for a ban themselves.

» Find the report on

» Geelong Advertiser – 19 August 2015:
Andrew Katos joins fracking debate, urging premier not to renew Otway Basin fracking license
“Opposition MP Andrew Katos has written to the premier urging him not to renew a licence that would allow fracking in part of the Otway Basin.”
Article by Nicole Mills


» Geelong Independent – 14 August 2015:


» Surf Coast Times – 13 August 2015:

» The Canberra Times – 12 August 2015:
Surf Coast community pushes back against unconventional gas industry
“Worried about the potential negative impacts on tourism, agriculture, water and public health, a fast-growing coastal shire has strongly urged the state government to continue a ban on the onshore unconventional gas industry.”
Article by Darren Gray

Also published in:

» North Queensland Register – 12 August 2015:
Risk to jobs and health cited in gas ban call

» The Australian – 12 August 2015:
MPs tipped to cede to gas ban activists
“A deluge of “Lock the Gate”-style anti-exploration submissions to a parliamentary committee appears to have crushed the chances of Victoria establishing its own onshore gas industry in the short term.”


» Geelong Independent – 23 July 2015

Anti-fracking protesters in Highton demonstrate against the controversial mining method. Picture: Mik Aidt
Anti-fracking protesters in Highton demonstrate against the controversial mining method. Picture: Mik Aidt

» Geelong Advertiser – 24 July 2015:
City Hall: Geelong council supports fracking ban

Geelong’s council is supporting a permanent ban on coal seam gas fracking, on the back of strong public feedback on the issue. The council’s submission to the State Government inquiry into unconventional gas in Victoria opposes onshore gas extraction and hydraulic fracking.

Environment and Sustainability spokesman, Cr Andy Richards, said the submission was influenced strongly by local feedback during its own consultations. The council received a total of 449 submissions, with 447 opposed to the controversial industry.

“Council has a long history of protecting the environment and this submission … emphasises the concerns of council and Geelong residents on the issue of fracking”, Councillor Richards said.

“Council rejects onshore gas extraction and hydraulic fracking and supports a permanent ban.”

City Hall has requested the Government develop renewable energy sources to help replace fossil fuels.
An interim report on the inquiry is due by September 1, with a final report by December 1.



» Geelong Independent – 31 October 2014:
Fracking ‘okay’


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



» Geelong Independent – 16 October 2014

» 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.

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

» 93.9 Bay FM – 15 October 2014:
Geelong Council rejects fracking
“A win for anti-fracking supporters in Geelong.”
Article by Rebecca McDonald

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

» The Standard – 2 October 2014:
CSIRO: south-west has no coal-seam fracking
Opponents of unconventional gas exploration drilling across south-west Victoria have been confusing geology in their continuing campaigns aimed at protecting underground water supplies. Article by Peter Collins

“Last week, the state government announced it had amended the law to ban BTEX chemicals in fracking, but Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber said the changes were a ‘clear indication that the Napthine government intends to lift the moratorium’.”

Armstrong Creek Times – 25 September 2014:
Anti-fracking campaign comes to Torquay
The campaign against unconventional gas continues to grow on the Surf Coast, with an information night held in Toquay on Thursday. About 60 perople attended the night, staged by Gasfield Free Torquay at the Surf World Museum.” Article by James Taylor

“Apparently people want to vote “no”, but we’re not participating. Why not?
Is it because we think that our responses will be ignored?
Is it because we believe the end decision is out of our hands?
Is it because we don’t trust the process?
Is it because we don’t care and just feel that fracking is no big deal? Nobody can say for sure, but history tells us one thing. Numbers count.
If you want your city to go green and make a statement about the future, get onto the CoGG website and go to the Have Your Say section. Take a leaf from the book of Scottish experience and participate in the process.
We have the right to speak to our council about issues that impact our future and so we should exercise this right as much as possible. Volume is a great indicator of the health of a democracy.”
Ross Mueller

Geelong Advertiser – 24 September 2014:
Speak up and it will set you free
Opinion-piece by Ross Mueller


» Geelong Advertiser – 22 September 2014:
Climate rally shouts ‘there’s no planet B’
“Geelong residents need to speak up on fracking as city councillors set about shaping policy on the controversial gas extraction process, people at a climate march heard yesterday.” Article by Danny Lannen


» Surf Coast Times – September 2014:
Greens present fracking policy to shire
Article by James Taylor

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


» The Sustainable Hour on 94.7 The Pulse – 17 September 2014:
Political support for gasfield free zones
On Sunday 14 September 2014, a minor political miracle was completely ignored by mainstream media. It took place in Moriac, a small countryside town of 800 residents, some 15-20 minutes drive from Geelong, where politicians from all major parties at federal, state and local level assisted the citizens of four small towns to declare themselves ‘gasfield free’.

Shire turns up pressure on unconventional gas

“The Surf Coast Shire has challenged all major political parties to declare their position on unconventional gas exploration and development before November’s state election.

Councillors at the shire, which has supported a moratorium on the practice (also known as fracking) since 2012, unanimously supported Cr Heather Wellington’s notice of motion at their meeting on Tuesday. The motion expresses the council’s extreme concern at the potential impact of unconventional gas on the shire’s communities and at the lack of appropriate regulatory framework.

It also calls on all major political parties to widen the moratorium on fracking in Victoria – extended by the state government until July 2015 – to encompass all unconventional gas exploration and development “unless and until there is a clear community mandate to proceed”.”

Continue reading:

» Surf Coast Times – 29 August 2014:
Shire turns up pressure on unconventional gas
Article by James Taylor


“The reluctance to give a definitive yes or no to onshore unconventional gas before the election is angering people on both sides of the debate. It’s not hard to see why. The waters are muddy on this issue.

The Coalition commissioned the Reith report into CSG, which was later revealed as being conducted ­almost exclusively with pro-mining groups and industry. Nationals MP Damien Drum last year was caught out giving a glowing report of the CSG industry in Queensland and just two months ago questions were raised after the ­Coalition declared the renewable ­energy target should be extended to include gas.

Labor has been calling for a Parliamentary inquiry into onshore gas since 2012, but given that dozens of fracks and exploration licences were granted by Labor when it was in power before 2010, you can see why voters would be reluctant to take their words at face value.

The Greens, unsurprisingly, are anti-CSG and are well placed to cash in on all the political distaste. If the Greens play up the fearmongering ahead of the polls, they might just find themselves picking up an extra seat or two, giving them the balance of power in the Upper House.

It is a scenario neither side of politics will fancy, but if it happens, it could well be their punishment for the refusal to come out with a clear yes or no commitment before Victorians cast their votes.”

» The Weekly Times – 20 August 2014:
Coal seam gas continues to be a burning issue for many communities
Regional Victorians want a clear answer on whether we will see a coal seam gas industry. Article by Cimara Doutré

» Surf Coast Times – 14 August 2014:
Number of gasfield-free communities grows
Several communities in Victoria’s south-west have joined those in the Surf Coast Shire and elsewhere in the state in declaring themselves gasfield-free. Campaigners against exploration for fracking for coal seam gas (GSG) and unconventional gases in Hamilton, Digby, Dartmoor, Drumborg, Byaduk and Portland met with Premier Denis Napthine in Hamilton last week to officially present their ‘Gasfield-Free Community’ declarations.
Article by James Taylor


» Geelong Advertiser – 9 August 2014:
Geelong’s great fracking debate continues to divide locals
“Picture this: A mining company finds gas locked deep beneath Geelong and the Surf Coast. A mix of water, sand and toxic chemicals is pumped hundreds of metres into the ground, spreading under houses and rivers as close to the city as Highton, Newtown and Grovedale.” Article by Courtney Crane


“Speaking after a meeting in Hamilton yesterday with anti-fracking groups from western Victoria, Dr Napthine said a lot more research was needed on fracking’s impact on underground water supplies before his government would approve the practice.”

» The Standard – 5 August 2014:
Napthine vows: no fracking on my watch
Fracking will not take place in Victoria under a Coalition government, according to Premier Denis Napthine. He is opposed to fracking, but said he had no plans to give farmers the right to veto mining on their land.
Article by Everard Himmelreich

“State co-ordinator for the anti-fracking coalition Lock the Gate, Chloe Aldenhoven, said eight communities in western Victoria had so far completed surveys to declare their opposition to the onshore natural gas industry that used fracking. She said an average of 96 per cent of the landholders surveyed opposed the onshore natural gas industry.

Digby landholder and small business owner Helen Henry said her group was heartened Dr Napthine had acknowledged community opposition to the industry.

“But if the Premier is serious about allaying community concern, he needs to put his words into action,” Ms Henry said. “He has the power to create no-go zones in areas where the community does not want the industry to go ahead. He has the power to enact a statewide ban.” ”

“If we want ocean liners to reprovision from local suppliers, then we need to protect our farmland. If we want them to visit our arts precinct, then we need to invest in our artists. If we want them to come to the outdoor stadium, then we need to make sure the air is fresh and clean.
Last week I wrote a piece about the possibility of fracking in our town. It must have touched a nerve in Canberra because the chief operating officer of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association shot off a letter to the editor. This rapid response might give one the impression that the stakes for the future of our city are higher than one first thought.
Nobody wants to get off a cruise ship, take in a show and do a quick tour of a gas field.
Our No.1 priority must be the investment in sustainable industries, based in renewable energy. This will deliver solid, long-term returns and help create a prosperous regional city.”
~ Ross Mueller, a Geelong-based writer, director and Geelong Football Club member

» Geelong Advertiser – 6 August 2014:
Primary assets should be top priority, not stadium

» Geelong Advertiser – 30 July 2014:
Clock’s ticking on fracking so let’s start talking now
“Last week, Geelong councillors voted to learn more about fracking. They admitted possessing little understanding of the subject, what it does to real estate values, tourism and community health.”
Opinion-piece by Ross Mueller


» The Sustainable Hour on 94.7 The Pulse – 30 July 2014:
Audio-postcard from the future of fracking
Seven experts explain fracking in a 40-minute ‘audio-postcard’ produced for councillors who are seeking education on this issue – in the hope that they will actually listen.

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

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


» Surf Coast Times – 24 July 2014:
City seeks public’s fracking opinion
Article by Tiffany Pilcher

» Geelong Advertiser – 9 July 2014:
Geelong community groups send clear message against fracking
Community consultations have revealed a strong opposition to fracking throughout the Geelong region. Article by Jemma Ryan

» The Standard – 8 July 2014:
Local communities express their opposition to fracking in south-west
More than 1100 people across western Victoria turned out for state government-held community consultation on fracking, with an overwhelming majority opposed to the industry. An approximate breakdown of public sentiment was 75 per cent opposed, 20 per cent undecided and 5 per cent not opposed, according to one of the independent facilitators, Mick Maguire. Nine communities have declared themselves coal and gasfield free, with another 20 communities in the process of making the same declaration. Article by Brittany Stewart


» Surf Coast Times – 26 June 2014:
Gas consultation stresses its independence
By James Taylor

» Surf Coast Times – 12 June 2014:
Surf Coast gas field risks too great
“Make no mistake, if a gas field is approved over the Surf Coast Shire it will industrialise the region.”
Opinion-piece by Mark Ogge


» 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 reported from Deans March and Surf Coast on 30 April 2014: (2 minutes on tv)

» Friends of the Earth:
Community consultation on gas welcomed


Surf Coast Times · Bellarine Times · Armstrong Creek Times – 17 April 2014:
Communities lock the gate against gas
Three towns to the west of the Surf Coast Shire have locked the gate against gas exploration, with 95.5 per cent of their residents declaring they do not want gasfields on their lands.


» The Sustainable Hour on 94.7 The Pulse – 16 April 2014:
Impacts of unconventional gas extraction
Audio-recordings of the seminar ‘Unconventional gas extraction and the social, economic and environmental impacts’ which took place in Melbourne on 26 March 2014. It was transmitted via video conference to 11 different locations in Victoria – one of them at Deakin University in Geelong.

Residents oppose fracking


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



Miner’s disinterest fails to deter fracking protesters


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


Surf Coast Times – 6 February 2014:
Group urges council to show its stance on fracking
Article by James Taylor

Bid for ‘trendy no-frack zone’

Lakes Oil chairman Robert Annells said declaring a frack-free zone set a “dangerous precedent”:
“These things become trendy and there may be an area elsewhere that is influenced by these frack-free zones and I don’t think we should be making those sorts of decisions.”
“There are areas considerably west of Moriac that are suitable for fracking and every area should be looked at on geological merits rather than emotively.”

» Geelong Independent – 17 December 2013:
Bid for ‘trendy no-frack zone’
Article by John van Klaveren

Moriac to fight fracking


“Frack Free Moriac are asking residents whether they want to delare themselves as coal and gasfield free. The survey will cover landowners in Moria, Modewarre, Paraparap, Gherang, Mt. Moria and Buckley.
Moriac resident Damien Marchant said one exploration has taken place in Moriac.
Member for South Barwon Andrew Katos said the Government would not support onshore gas prodution until scientifi facts are shown and “clear evidence has shown that suh an industry would not risk the state’s assets”.”

» Geelong Advertiser – 14 December 2013:
Moriac to fight fracking
“Residents group fears gas exploration on farmlands”
Article by Andria Cozza

Barwon Water ‘fracking’ fears

“Barwon Water has revealed concerns about fracking potentially contaminating water supplies.
Barwon Water managing director Joe Adamski said the organisation supported the Victorian Government’s moratorium on coal seam gas mining.
“Barwon Water would object to any proposal deemed detrimental to the region’s water resources,” Mr Adamski said.”

» Geelong Independent – 15 November 2013:
Barwon Water ‘fracking’ fears
Article by John van Klaveren

Huge risks to health and land

“The licence, held by Lakes Oil subsidiary Mirboo Ridge Pty Ltd, allows for exploration of ‘tight gas’ which is held deeper than coal seam gas and requires more fracking. Fracking uses pressurised liquid to fracture rock to enable any gas, petroleum or uraniumbearing solution to pool into a well and be collected.

Friends of the Earth spokeswoman Chloe Aldenhoven said the Government had failed to inform or consult the community on a decision that posed “huge risks” to health and land.

“The people of Geelong and the Surf Coast should be allowed a public debate about whether they want their drinking water put at risk by tight gas fracking,” she said.”

» Geelong Advertiser – 9 November 2013:
Fracking fracas over gas
“Anti-fracking campaigners are outraged a gas exploration licence has been granted over Anglesea Borefield – a source of 20 per cent of Geelong and the Surf Coast’s drinking water.”
Article by Courtney Crane

New ‘fracking’ permit

“Otways up for exploration.
State Government has issued a new permit to explore ‘fracking’ opportunities in the Otway basin despite a moratorium on coal seam gas (CSG) extraction, according to shadow resources minister John Lenders.
The Government issued the permit before receiving a report on the future of CSG, Mr Lenders said.”

» Geelong Independent – 8 November 2013:
New ‘fracking’ permit
Article by John van Klaveren

Massive gas exploration lease

“The ABC has obtained a map that indicates one major resource company has laid claim to the exploration rights for a tract of land stretching the outskirts of Geelong to the Surf Coast.”

» ABC – 1 November 2013:
Massive gas exploration lease
7pm TV News VIC | Duration: 2min 13sec | By Jeff Waters
» See the tv-news report:

advertiser-article21oct_200» Geelong Advertiser – 21 October 2013:
Licence sparks fracking friction
A mining licence that could see controversial fracking on the outskirts of Geelong must be stopped, protesters have said. Article by Anthea Cannon

» Geelong Advertiser – 4 November 2013:
Armour achieve shale gas first
Armour Energy has become the first Australian company to flow gas from shale using the fracking technique that has revolutionised US energy markets. (…) The boom in shale gas – which is gas trapped in rocks at deeper levels than both conventional and coal seam gas – due to advances in drilling technology has given US industry a boost by providing cheaper energy. Armour’s chief executive Robbert (Robbert) de Weijer said the company wanted to provide a similar solution in Australia.

» Geelong Advertiser – 4 November 2013:
EDITORIAL: Moving to renewable energy
Investment of $5 million and potentially up to $25 million by the State Government in local geothermal power exploration has been welcomed by renewal energy supporters. If successful, the Geelong Geothermal Power Project could bring about a 140-megawatt plant providing clean, renewable power for 100,000 homes. Under the initial agreement between Spring St and Greenearth, a pilot power station will look to generate 12mW using hot water from 4 km underground.

» Geelong Advertiser – 1 November 2013:
Growing opposition to CSG in Victoria
The Labor Party, environment groups and the Greens say there must be a proper public consultation process before coal seam gas (CSG) extraction is introduced in Victoria.

» Armstrong Creek Times – October 2013:
Community groups vent their opposition to fracking
Article by James Taylor

» Geelong Advertiser – 21 October 2013:
Licence sparks fracking friction
A mining licence that could see controversial fracking on the outskirts of Geelong must be stopped, protesters have said.

» Geelong Independent – 27 June 2013:
Geelong ‘front’ of fracking
A stretch of farmland between Geelong and Anglesea could become a battleground on the controversial mining practice of fracking.
Article by John van Klaveren

» Colac Herald – 19 June 2013:
Fracking fear for Otways
Colac district residents fear mining companies will mine for gas in the Otways, pumping chemicals underground.
Article by Scott Barnes

» Geelong Independent – 13 June 2013:
Region a ‘fracking’ target
The controversial practice of “fracking” could come to Geelong after oil and gas explorer Lakes Oil revealed it was conducting geological and geophysical studies in the region.
Article by John van Klaveren

» Stock and Land – 3 June 2013:
SE targeted for gas mining
Farmers and activists want ironclad guarantees that unconventional gas exploration in the Otway Basin will not lead to contamination of aquifers underpinning agricultural production in the South East. A 5657-square kilometre mining block in the Otway Basin closed for bidding in April, confirming the region’s status as a key component in the State Government’s Roadmap for Unconventional Gas in South Australia.
Article by Malcolm Sutton

» Surf Coast Times – 30 August 2012:
Unseamly: brakes put on coal seam gas
Greens member and Surf Coast Shire councillor, Simon Northeast, instigated a motion at last week’s regular meeting that the Victorian State Government bring about an immediate moratorium on all new coal seam gas exploration and operations.
Article by Ali Deane




Letters to the Editor


Geelong Independent – 24 October 2014
Jobs in renewables, not gas
By Vicky Gosser


Geelong Advertiser – 17 October 2014
Council spot on with gas decision
By Vicky Gosser


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

Geelong Independent on 15 August 2014

Geelong Independent on 18 July 2014
Geelong Independent on 18 July 2014

Farming for coal, gas

farming-for-gas-coalPublished on 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



Congratulate Council and Barwon Water

Published in December 2013 in The Independent, Surf Coast:

“On behalf of the following groups: Frack Free Geelong / Surf Coast / Bellarine / Moriac / Deans Marsh, I would like to congratulate 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.
We wholeheartedly support them for taking the concerns of their constituents seriously and acting on them. The question now remains, how do the City of Greater Geelong Council and Barwon Health view this practice?”

Anthony Gleeson



► Geelong Advertiser – 4 November 2013:
Your Say
The revelation, by an Australian mining company in the UK, that fracking has caused earth tremors near Blackpool was enough for Tony Windsor to withhold support for renewable energy “until the science is in”. Are we to allow Ted Baillieu and his Spring Street colleagues to compromise both the homes of the Otways and the water table beneath Anglesea? Shame, Ted, shame!!”
By Kevin



► Geelong Advertiser – 21 October 2013:
Your Say
“To Dylan of Geelong and others. When you have a gas flame coming out of you kitchen sink tap, with the water, like they did in Queensland and USA, etc. Plus you, your pet’s or farm animals, are getting sick or deseased or die. And you can’t grow anything, there goes your livihood. Or sell your property. Under ground table water is posioned, is that how you wish to live. Then, fair enough you go for it. See the documentaries, about this happening.”
By Jock



Frack and ruin

► Geelong Independent | Letters – 27 June 2013:
“Phone the Energy Minister on 9651 1156, or email the Premier, and ask for the moratorium on fracking to be extended to all similar practives and made permanent.”
By Christopher Bates



» More news here

Protect our region from gas mining

%d bloggers like this: