Support for fracking ban

COMMUNITY opposition is growing in the south-west against the controversial mining technique of “fracking”, with Moyne Shire Council and community meetings calling for it to be banned.

Moyne councillors voted this month to seek the support of the Great South Coast (GSC) Group of councils to oppose the mining of coal seam, tight and shale oil gases in the south-west.

The council also decided at the meeting to call for the GSC to lobby all state political parties, in the lead up to this year’s state election, to commit to a ban on the exploration and extraction of the three gas types 

The gases are extracted using fracking, which injects water, sand and chemicals at high pressure into a well bore to create small fractures in underground rock where the gases are held.

Councillors backed a motion by Cr Ralph Leutton, who said fracking had a big impact on underground water reserves.

Damaging the region’s aquifers could harm the south-west food production industries, Cr Leutton said.

Cr Jim Doukas supported Cr Leutton’s motion, saying he had seen information about the adverse impacts of fracking.

“This could destroy agriculture,” Cr Doukas said.

“We have got to go in, boots and all.”

In other local action, a community meeting against fracking held at Woolsthorpe last Wednesday attracted about 40 people.

Another meeting will be held from 7.30pm on Wednesday at the multi-purpose hall at Woolsthorpe Primary School to organise further action against the practice.

The Woolsthorpe meeting followed another anti-fracking gathering at Crossley in March that was attended by more than 100 people.

One of the organisers of last Wednesday’s meeting, Woolsthorpe farmer Joan Speirs, said at least three exploration companies wanted to mine for the three gas types in the south-west using fracking.

She said the meeting planned for Wednesday aimed to further harness “people power” to persuade the Victorian government to ban fracking.

Ms Speirs said she had so far collected about 150 signatures on a petition to stop fracking.

The state government has placed a moratorium on the technique in Victoria until July next year.

However, the Reith report — headed by former Howard government minister Peter Reith — last year recommended to the state government that it lift the ban.

ehimmelreich@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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