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Ban coal seam gas in Victoria: Madigan



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Senator John Madigan Independent Senator for Victoria

--- Media Release --- BAN COAL SEAM GAS IN VICTORIA: MADIGAN

24 June 2016

Independent Senator for Victoria John Madigan has today challenged the Andrews state

government to immediately ban onshore gas drilling in Victoria, including unconventional

methods such as coal seam gas fracking.

"The Andrews Labor government has resolved to defer its decision about the future of

controversial unconventional gas exploration in Victoria until August. I suppose it is just a

coincidence that this decision will come just after the federal election," Senator Madigan

said.

"Call me cynical but I suspect that after the federal election the Andrews government will lift

the current moratorium on deeply unpopular unconventional gas exploration and extraction

methods in Victoria and promptly declare Victoria 'open for gas industry business.”

While travelling in Warrnambool yesterday, Senator Madigan raised his concerns with

Victorian Lock the Gate campaigner, Chloe Aldenhoven. Senator Madigan has been a

strong supporter of the Lock the Gate Alliance since co-hosting a parliamentary briefing on

coal seam gas and unconventional gas exploration in March 2014. Senator Madigan said he

was shocked to discover just how much of Victoria is currently covered by mining licences,

including 87% of Gippsland.

"The safety of coal seam and unconventional gas extraction methods has not been

established - not by a long shot. The absence of full scientific certainty represents an

unacceptable threat to our communities, our environment and our water tables. Until such

time that independent scientific research can irrefutably demonstrate that unconventional

extraction methods are safe technologies, we must exercise the precautionary approach and

not let this industry get within cooee of prime Victorian agricultural land."

Senator Madigan cautioned that onshore gas drilling represents an utterly unacceptable yet

totally avoidable reputational risk. He offered an example from New Zealand where dairy

giant, Fonterra, will not take milk from dairy farms that could be exposed to oil and gas

drilling fluids.

"Our dairy industry doesn't need to jump over this hurdle too. Victorians need to think about

the implications of probable contamination and consider how these incidents would impact

on our precious aquifers, public health and our export industries.”

Senator Madigan said he had already observed major parties shamelessly demonstrating

that they are ready, willing and able to put the commercial interests of multi-national mining

companies before the basic rights of Australian farmers.

"Back in 2014, I watched in disgust as the Liberals, Nationals and Labor parties partnered

together to vote down the Landholder's Right to Refuse (Gas and Coal) Bill 2013. In so

doing they spared mining companies the 'inconvenience' of having to ask permission to

enter private land for the purpose of exploring and mining coal and gas.

"While it's clear where their loyalties lie, I stand in support of the 73 Victorian communities

that have declared their towns Gasfield Free.

"In my first speech I said that if we are not making decisions that make the lives of

Australians better, then we should at least make sure that we do not make them any worse.

The great economies of the world do not survive by simply digging holes in the ground,

turning their country into a quarry and educating their competitors on how to bury them.

"Bill Shorten keeps telling us that Labor is putting people first. The Labor party should put its

money where its mouth is and prove that it will put the interests of people before mining

companies.

"I call on Premier Andrews and Victorian Labor to lead by example and impose a permanent

ban on onshore gas drilling in Victoria - before the federal election.”

Media Contact: Chloe Preston 0432 029 644