The Victorian Coalition Government has announced that work plan approvals for onshore gas exploration will be on hold until further information and evidence from the water study, community views and industry impacts are available.
According to the media release by the Premier of Victoria, the Victorian Government has decided to tread carefully in this area in order to ensure that the economic benefits of onshore gas development are properly balanced against the interests of the local communities.
“The Coalition Government is undertaking comprehensive community consultation alongside our moratorium on fracking and our hold on issuing new licences for coal seam gas exploration. It is clear to the Coalition Government that there is community concern around prospective onshore gas exploration under currently held licences. In the spirit of the current moratorium the Coalition Government will put a hold on making any decisions on the approval of current onshore gas exploration work plans,” said Minister for Energy and Resources Russell Northe.
“It is important any move to develop an onshore gas industry in Victoria takes into consideration the views of the community, industry and independent scientific facts including information coming out of the water study. I strongly encourage any Victorian with a view on the matter to participate in the community consultation.”
The Coalition Government also revealed the details for the first round of Open Days that will form one part of the broader onshore natural gas community and stakeholder engagement program – set to be held during June throughout Western Victoria and Gippsland.
“This is not just a listening exercise, it’s an information exercise. We want to ensure that everyone has an understanding of the facts to help them participate in discussions about a potential onshore natural gas industry in Victoria,” Mr Northe said.
“We intend to gain a comprehensive understanding of the issues and the range of views across the community, particularly in the regional and rural communities, before making any decision on this important matter.”
No bookings or registration are required for Open Days. Details can be found on www.naturalgasinfo.vic.gov.au