Bass Coast,

Council Welcomes Premier's Announcement On Fracking Consultation

Bass Coast Shire Council has welcomed the Premier’s announcement that he is extending the moratorium on unconventional gas exploration and mining until at least June 2015 to allow sufficient time for consultation.

“We are very pleased about the extension of the moratorium and we will be working with the community to ensure that we put forward a robust submission by the due date of 14 March 2014,” said CEO Allan Bawden.

“We would like everyone in the Shire to be involved in this matter. We need to present our views with a strong voice.

“We particularly appreciate the Premier’s commitment to protect water aquifers, prime agricultural land, food production and ‘general liveability’. Bass Coast’s wealth is based on its agricultural and tourism assets, and we must ensure these are protected now and for the future – our livelihood depends on it,” he said.

In March 2012, Council adopted a position to oppose new mining of coal and Coal Seam Gas (CSG) exploration and extraction, as CSG and the use of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” as it is known, represent a serious risk to our pristine environment and our valuable agricultural industry.

Since then, Council has advocated strongly and successfully on behalf of our community by making submissions to government, which led to the moratorium being put in place, and having a motion adopted by the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) State Council Meeting to obtain the commitment from the Victorian Government to undertake thorough and meaningful community engagement before implementing the Multiple Land Use Framework in Victoria. This will ensure that our community will have a say about any proposed CSG projects in Bass Coast.

Bass Coast Shire Council has also sought to meet with the Premier and the Hon. Nicholas Kotsiras, the Minister for Energy and Resources, as well as their opposition counterparts.

“It is important that we get to put our views to them as we are concerned that the appropriate frameworks for consultation and engagement with the community are not in place,” Mr Bawden said.