ADAC challenges Viva gas terminal proposal

ADAC convenor Robert Patterson calls on citizens to add their voice to the fight against fossil fuels. (Ivan Kemp)

Matt Hewson

Viva Energy’s announcement of commercial agreements for the construction of pier and berthing infrastructure for its proposed gas terminal in the Port of Geelong has met with condemnation from numerous community groups.

One of those groups, A Different Approach Community (ADAC), wants to help citizens who oppose the project make their voices heard.

“We’re a fairly conservative group; we’re not marching up the streets, we don’t chain ourselves to machinery, we write letters,” said ADAC convenor Robert Patterson.

“We’ve sent about 4,085 letters to federal politicians over a two-year period, all asking, please, let’s do something about climate.

“The United Nations tells us we should have no new fossil fuels, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is saying it’s now or never. So we see it as our responsibility to say something about the terminal.

“We need to get politicians to take notice, and letters work. If people sign up to our email newsletter we can send them prewritten letters they can put their name to and send off to their local member.”

Mr Patterson said ADAC had major concerns about a number of issues around the proposed terminal.

“There are two main issues, the first of which is beautiful Corio Bay, the sea grasses, bird and marine populations, and the safety of the community at North Shore. There’s no reason why it needs to be put here in the bay, it could be further out,” he said.

“But we would argue we don’t need it at all, because we’ve been told by the Victorian government they’ve got a renewable energy target to reduce emissions by 50 percent by 2030, and yet they’re going to consider approving a new fossil fuel industry that’s going to increase emissions.”

A spokesperson for Viva Energy said ADAC’s concerns about local ecosystems had already been addressed through a “comprehensive Environment Effect Statement”, which drew on 17 independent studies on the potential impact of the gas terminal.

“These studies showed the terminal would not have an adverse impact on the marine environment or wetlands,” the spokesperson said.

“Regarding the community, LNG has been safely shipped around the world for 60 years and there has never been a major incident involving a carrier in this time.

“Viva Energy recognises the world is moving to a low-carbon future. We are committed to being a part of the energy transition.

“However, this major transition cannot happen overnight, and gas has an important role to play as a backstop for the power system. The Victorian government’s Gas Substitution Roadmap states there will be a role for gas until at least 2040.”