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By JOHN VAN KLAVEREN

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.
The Independent reported in June the controversial practice could come to Geelong after Lakes Oil revealed it was conducting geological and geophysical studies in the region. Lakes Oil’s permit area, PEP163. stretches from Geelong to Anglesea and along the coast.
Lakes Oil said it had “every reason to believe” the Otway basin, from Geelong to the South Australian border, would be prospective for “tight gas fracking”.
Fracking is a controversial process of injecting liquid underground to release gas, with environmentalists fearing contamination of bore water supplies.
State Government last week received the Gas Market Taskforce report from former Federal Liberal MP Peter Reith, examining onshore gas exploration issues.
“The Government has clearly made up its mind that fracking should go ahead in Victoria by issuing a permit ahead of receiving the report,” Mr Lenders said.
“The report was a sham exercise with the consultation process heavily weighted to industry representatives and generally ignoring any other views. The report has yet to be released by the Government but the issuing of a permit in August makes it clear the Government will lift the moratorium on this controversial practice.”
Mr Lenders said the permit allowed two companies to explore fracking in the area around Portland and Casterton in Denis Napthine’s own backyard.
Friends of the Earth coordinator Cam Walker said the revelation of new oil and gas exploration licences was “like throwing fuel onto fire”.
He said the decision would ensure a community campaign against new coal and gas would stretch from Gippsland to the South Australia border.
A Government spokesperson said the gazetted announcement was a normal part of the exploration process.
“This does not constitute a green light or any approval for fracking as the moratorium remains in place. It is disappointing that Labor has aimed to mislead on this issue.”
Mr Napthine said the Government would consider a “wealth of information from a variety of sources” before making a decision about on-shore gas exploration.

One Response to “New ‘fracking’ permit: Otways up for exploration”

  1. Katherine Marchment

    The report is a sham – paid for by the taxpayer to ensure to ensure a recommendation to lift the moratorium and proceed to drill.

    All the taskforce members, including Mr Reith, represent energy companies or associated industries and lobby groups.

    In addition to Mr Reith, the taskforce comprised of: Mr Mark Collette, the Group Executive Manager of Energy Markets for Energy Australia; Mr Frank Calabria, the Energy Markets Chief Executive Officer for Origin Energy; the President of Dow Chemicals Australia and New Zealand, Mr Craig Arnold; the Chief Executive of the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association, Mr David Byers; Ms Cheryl Cartwright, who is the Chief Executive of the Australian Pipeline Industry Association; a Federal Liberal MP and director of Port Jackson Partners consulting firm, Mr Angus Taylor, and Mr Innes Willox, who is the Chief Executive of the Australian Industry Group.

    When you look at these board members, you can see that the government wasn’t interested in independent costings involved to the State as not one of these people on the board is an accountant. There is no independent hydrologist, geologist, ecologist, botanist, agronomist or any type of scientist on this board so the government has no interest in the impacts on water, air, soil, animal health and the food chain. There are no medical doctors or toxicologists on this board so the government has no interest in discovering the impacts on people.

    So Peter Reith was being paid $2000 per day on top of his Salary from First State lobbyists to tell us gas is good with a committee that included energy company marketing executives for an “independent” report commissioned by the Victorian Government

    Should the Victorian People want a real report into the effects of drilling for gas in their state and make up their own minds on the facts – It would be cheaper and more effective for the Victorian Government to have real experts do real studies of the already operating gasfields in Queensland, than to pay for a study from fat advertising executives working for energy companies. I wonder if a single one of them has ever been to a gasfield?

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