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Write a submission to Geelong Council

Council calls for public submissions on fracking

Deadline: 26 September 2014. Council runs a fact-finding process and takes public submissions about coal seam gas mining / on-shore gas extraction / fracking. A media release from the City of Greater Geelong Council on 22 August 2014 stated:

“The City of Greater Geelong is seeking further information regarding onshore gas extraction process and will call for public submissions on the issue.

Under a Notice of Motion moved initially by Environment and Sustainability Portfolio holder Cr Andy Richards at a Council meeting in July, a 30-day process is underway to educate Council of the issues associated with this industry.

Cr Andy Richards is calling for public submissions about onshore gas extraction including coal seam, shale gas and tight gas extraction and associated extraction methods such as hydraulic fracking.

“We’re aware that there is a level of concern in the community about onshore gas extraction and are calling for people to have their say about the industry and its possible impacts on the Geelong region.”

“Now is the time to put forward your point of view and any research or evidence that contributes to the debate.”

“State Government is responsible for issuing any permits and there is currently a state-wide moratorium on coal seam gas mining.”

“Submissions open 25 August and can be emailed, mailed or dropped in to customer service centres. We’ll need your input by Friday 26 September which is the closing date for submissions,” said Cr Richards.

A report of the submissions will subsequently be presented to Council.

Background information regarding onshore gas extraction, including coal seam, shale gas and tight gas extraction can be viewed at all City of Greater Geelong customer service centres.

How to provide feedback:

Online:
www.geelongaustralia.com.au/yoursay

Mail:

Onshore Gas Submission
Manager Environment and Waste Services
City of Greater Geelong
PO Box 104
GEELONG 3220

Email:
rthomas@geelongcity.vic.gov.au

Drop off:
In designated boxes at customer service centres

ENDS”

HaveYourSay-Fracking


Please note that the three links that Council is providing are all in favour of gas mining. If you would like to become acquainted with views independent of the industry, we suggest you look on this page which contains information from Doctors for the Environment, Beyond Zero Emissions, Australia Institute, and The Climate Institute.


Ask Council to apply for the exemption

When you write your submission to City of Greater Geelong, consider copying the text below into your submission in some form or another:

Surf Coast Shire has put forward a motion on Unconventional Gas Exploration and Development expressing concern about potential impacts and lack of regulatory framework. (See council minutes for motion details, page 177, link below). It seems the Shire can apply to be exempt from this type of mining, but needs the community to ask council, through letters and emails, to apply for the exemption. If this holds true, then I would hereby like to ask City of Greater Geelong Council to do the same. Dear councillors, you must apply for this extension just like Surf Coast Shire is doing it and ensure that City of Greater Geelong remains gas mining free.

» Surf Coast Shire council minutes:
http://www.surfcoast.vic.gov.au/My_Council/Agendas_Minutes/Council_Agendas_Minutes/council_minutes_14/Meeting_26_August_2014?minutes



News and updates from City of Greater Geelong

Council undertaking comprehensive fact-finding process on coal seam gas extraction methods
Thursday, 28 August 2014

Have Your Say – Fracking
Thursday, 28 August 2014

Onshore Gas Extraction Public Submissions
Thursday, 21 August 2014

Fracking fact finding
Thursday, 7 August 2014



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

Protests at the Geelong Council meeting on Tuesday 22 July

Media release – 19 July 2014 

Community to unite against fracking

CALL FOR ACTION: Community Group Frack Free Geelong plans to make a strong statement to Council with a protest at the Council meeting on Tuesday 22nd of July.

A large group is expected to attend the Council meeting with signs, banners and placards.

Fracking poses many risks for Geelong’s environment and to the health and welfare of the broader community.

Unimpressed with Councils indecision on the issue of fracking to date Frack Free Geelong’s Lyn Manson says: “Now is the time for the Geelong community to voice its opposition to fracking.”

The councilors will be put on notice with many members of the group planning to ask questions during question time.

At the council meeting it is expected that a motion for community consultation on Coal Seam Gas will be passed, this will give the community 30 days to provide submissions on the issue.

It is hoped that Councilors will support the communities concern and lock the gate on Coal Seam Gas mining.

Frack Free Geelong will also encourage Council to follow in the footsteps of the Surf Coast Shire and produce a motion to the State Government supporting the extention of the moratorium on coal seam gas exploration and operations and requesting a comprehensive investigation into the likely effects of unconventional gas exploration and mining on public health, the environment, agriculture and food security, local communities and tourism.

 

Photo opportunity:
There will be a photo opportunity at the Council Meeting
Geelong City Hall, 22 July 2014 at 6:30pm

 

Links:

Facebook event
» www.facebook.com/events/319182108244005

Council meeting agenda
Includes details of the Coal Seam Gas Motion
» www.geelongaustralia.com.au

 

For comment, interviews and more information, please contact:
Alan Manson
» Tel:               (03) 5291 3235

» Email:         frackfreegrovedale@gmail.com
» Website:       www.frackfreegeelong.org
» Facebook:     www.facebook.com/FrackFreeGeelong

High resolution photos for download:
» www.frackfreegeelong.org/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 and the Surf Coast. The group currently consists of approximately 400 concerned citizens in the Geelong region.

 

Peak body of 79 Victorian councils opposes fracking

What this resolution basically says is that the State Council of Munical Association of Victoria – the legislated peak body for Victoria’s 79 councils – opposes any exploration for and extraction of fracking and gas mining within the state.

Now the big question to many of us is: where does that leave our council? Why hasn’t our mayor and councillors issued a similar resolution long ago?

We look forward to hear more about the information session which MAV is planning to run with councils and Minister.


Coal Seam Gas

Resolution:
The State Council of MAV to oppose any exploration for and extraction of Coal Seam Gas within the State.

Contact officer:
Claire Dunn

Assessment against criteria for incorporating emerging issues:

(1) Magnitude of impact the issue is likely to have on councils and their communities
Unclear although, as noted in rationale for resolution, potentially very significant environmental impacts if State approves exploration and extraction activities.

(2) Number of councils affected by the issue
Eastern Vic (Gippsland) and Western Vic councils likely to be most affected.

(3) Political ramifications of the issue for effective intergovernmental cooperation
Potentially significant depending on State’s ultimate decision re allowing exploration.

(4) Immediacy of the issue
On 28 May, the Victorian Coalition Government announced its decision to put a hold on work plan approvals for onshore gas exploration until more information is available including evidence from the water study, community views, and industry impacts. The State is holding a number of “Open Days” in Gippsland and Western Vic in June as part of its community and stakeholder engagement program. The Minister also met with the MAV in April for preliminary discussions re the community consultation program and councils’ concerns.

(5) Likelihood of influencing an outcome in local government’s favour
The Minister is keen to engage with the MAV and councils on this issue and has signalled his desire to speak to councils directly at a MAV-held forum.

Additional comments:

Recommended action(s):
Seek a meeting with the Minister for Energy and Resources to advise him of the State Council resolution and to get an update from him on the outcomes of the June Open Days. MAV to run an information session with councils and Minister.


At a State Council meeting of the Municipality Association of Victoria on 16 May 2014, 74 per cent voted in favour of a motion calling for a ban on fracking.

This means that the State Council of the Municipality Association of Victoria now officially opposes any exploration for and extraction of unconventional gas within the state of Victoria.

“We are pleased and encouraged that the motion put forward by Moyne Shire Council to oppose unconventional gas mining in Victoria has been passed. It is an indicator that local councils are listening and responding to the myriad concerns of their residents regarding this practice. We also hope this will decision will put additional pressure on the State Government to maintain the current moratorium on unconventional gas mining indefinitely,” said Frack Free Geelong spokesperson Elizabeth Packatt.

The motion will help build pressure on the state government to extend its current moratorium on the process of fracking to include all exploration activity.

Thanks to Moyne Shire for its leadership!


Motion 42. Coal Seam Gas

Submitting Council: Moyne Shire Council

Motion:
That Moyne Shire Council seeks the support of the State Council of MAV to oppose any exploration for and extraction of Coal Seam Gas within the State.

Submitting Council Rationale:

a) Strong community support to take a position in opposition to Coal Seam Gas activities in South West Victoria.

b) Evidence from Coal Seam Gas Fields in Queensland and long established fields in the United States shows significant impaction on aquifer viability and agricultural production.

NOTE – Coal Seam Gas includes coal seam gas, shale deposits and light gas which utilize fracking, horizontal drilling and deep drilling methods.





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

 

 

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

 

PEP163-closeup1
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



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