Portland fracking protest

PROTESTORS in Portland have called for Victoria to be declared “coal and gas-field free”.

Their objection to the process of fracking nearly upstaged Premier Denis Napthine during the opening of the city’s new boat ramp yesterday.

Protestors bearing placards and banners greeted Dr Napthine while a boat bearing banners against fracking motored a short distance away.

The peaceful protest came as the state government announced the next stage of a statewide community consultation program on onshore gas exploration.

Gasfield Free Glenelg (GFG) spokeswoman Sarah Fox, of Gorae near Portland, said the group felt it had been sidelined in the consultation process.

“We want the state government to decide to make the state coal and gasfield-free before the election in November,” Ms Fox said.

The latest consultation program will include a public meeting at the Heywood Football Netball Club from 2pm on August 5.

Ms Fox welcomed the decision to include Heywood and said the group would have representatives at the meeting.

GFG member Hayley Rundell said yesterday’s protest was held to ensure that opposition to fracking was not ignored in the lead- up to the election.

“We don’t want gasfields here, or anywhere in the whole of Victoria,” Ms Rundell said.

State energy minister Russell Northe said the next round of open days would be an opportunity for people to share their views with independent facilitators. 

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