Victoria has become the first state in Australia to permanently ban fracking in an effort to protect its agricultural sector and give certainty to regional communities.
The Resources Legislation Amendment (Fracking Ban) Bill 2016 – which was introduced by the Andrews Labor Government on Tuesday – permanently bans all onshore unconventional gas exploration and development, including hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and coal seam gas.
The new legislation also extends the moratorium on conventional onshore gas exploration and development to 30 June 2020.
The Bill amends the Petroleum Act 2008 and the Mineral Resource (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 and forms part of the government response to the 2015 Parliamentary Inquiry into Onshore Unconventional Gas in Victoria which received more than 1600 submissions, mostly opposed to onshore unconventional gas.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the new legislation answers the demands of farming communities across Victoria, who have been calling for a ban on unconventional gas for years.
“We were elected to put people first – and that means supporting Victorian farmers, their families and regional communities by protecting their produce and our environment,” Mr Andrews said.
“We promised to ban fracking and we’re getting it done – the livelihoods of thousands of Victorians and the reputation of their world-class produce depend on it.”
Minister for Resources Wade Noonan said the legislation will protect Victoria’s farming sector, which employs more than 190,000 Victorians and exports $12 billion in food and fibre products a year.
“For the last two years we’ve delivered on the things that matter most to people – the Victorian community has spoken and they simply don’t support fracking,” the Minister said.
He said it remains to be seen whether the Nationals will support the Labor Government’s legislative ban.
“This is one of the biggest issues affecting regional Victoria and these communities deserve to know whether or not the Coalition will support the Andrews Labor Government’s legislative ban,” Mr Nonan concluded.