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Monday, 05 May 2014 14:33

Board Supports Coal Seam Gas Moratorium

The Great South Coast Board has confirmed its support for a moratorium on exploration and extraction of coal seam gas in Victoria.

Speaking after Friday's Board meeting in Portland, Great South Coast Group Chair, Cr Chris O'Connor, said that with coal seam gas exploration already underway in the region, it was important to understand its implications.

"As the lead regional advocacy body for our region, we continue to closely monitor the community consultation process and will be seeking further information and professional advice about coal seam gas," Cr O'Connor said.

"It is important we fully understand what is involved in exploration and extraction of coal seam gas and what it means for our region."

Since August 2012, there has been a moratorium in Victoria for new Coal Seam Gas (CSG) exploration licences until a national framework is developed.

This is likely to remain in place until July 2015 until a community consultation process has been enacted.

Late last month, the Victorian Government launched a dedicated natural gas community information website – naturalgasinfo.vic.gov.au - to inform the consultation process. The website features details of upcoming meetings, as well as information about onshore natural gas, landholder's rights, the Victorian regulatory system and scientific water studies.

Cr O'Connor met with Energy and Resources Minister Russell Northe in Melbourne last week to ensure the Minister was aware of the Great South Coast Group's interest in coal seam gas.

He said at the forefront of the Board's consideration was the region's food and fibre production, water aquifers and liveability concerns.

"The Great South Coast provides a quarter of the nation's milk, among the finest Merino wool in the world and nearly 20 per cent of Australia's forestry plantations located in or nearby our region," he said

"We have both a national and international responsibility when considering this issue and the impact on our natural resources, industry and community, with more than 90 per cent of our region's wool and over 80 per cent of our grains exported to overseas markets."

"It is critical we continue to ask the Victorian Government to demand the scientific facts and evidence to ensure such an industry would not risk our region's assets," said Cr O'Connor.


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