Independent Member for Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed has urged residents to have their say on whether there should be an unconventional gas industry in Victoria.
A Victorian parliamentary inquiry is seeking community views on the exploration, extraction, production and rehabilitation for onshore unconventional gas.
Ms Sheed said it was important regional and rural communities made their voices heard during the consultation process.
“This is an opportunity for all Victorians to have their say on what has been a controversial issue around Australia,” she said.
“Victorian farmers have legitimate concerns about the potential impacts from onshore gas on the environment, and especially ground and surface water.
“It is important that they, as well as all other community members, have their say through this process.”
Unconventional gas refers to coal seam gas, shale gas and tight gas, and is sometimes extracted using hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’.
Victoria, Tasmania and NSW currently have moratoriums on various aspects of the unconventional gas extraction process.
The Victorian Parliament’s Environment and Planning Committee has called for written submissions within its terms of reference which focus on:
• The potential benefits of onshore unconventional gas as an energy source
• The potential risks, including risks to the environment, land productivity, agricultural industries and public health, and whether such risks can be managed
• The impact on the legal rights of property owners and existing land and water uses
• How this issue is managed in other Australian and international jurisdictions
• Potential changes to our legislative and regulatory framework.
Submissions close on 10 July, with regional consultation sessions to be held soon after.
Details about how to make a submission or contribute at a public hearing can be found on the Committee’s website www.parliament.vic.gov.au/epc.
15 June 2015