The Victorian Parliament has passed the historic Fracking Ban Bill on Tuesday, enforcing permanent bans on all onshore unconventional gas exploration and development, including hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and coal seam gas.
The Bill also extends the moratorium on conventional onshore gas exploration and development to 30 June 2020.
Minister for Resources Wade Noonan said the passing of the Fracking Bill was a huge win for Victorian farmers, who had been calling for a ban on unconventional gas for years.
“This is a historic day for our state. We promised we would ban fracking – and that is exactly what we have done,” Mr Noonan said.
“This is a win for people power and regional communities across Victoria who have campaigned for years to see this ban in place. We will now use the moratorium on conventional gas exploration to better understand its potential risks and benefits and we’ll listen to the experts.”
Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford said the permanent legislative ban will protect the ‘clean, green’ reputation of Victoria’s agriculture sector, which employs more than 190,000 people.
“Fracking has been resoundingly rejected in our regional communities,” Ms Pulford noted.
“We’re putting our farmers first and protecting their world-class produce and our environment.”
According to Mr Noonan, the extension to the moratorium on conventional onshore gas exploration and development will allow the Government to carry out a comprehensive program of geoscientific research to closely examine Victoria’s prospectivity, and the potential risks, benefits and impacts of this practice.
“That critical work will be overseen by Victoria’s lead scientist in consultation with an expert panel made up of farmers, industry, local government and community members,” the Minister concluded.