South-west fracking opponents to air their concerns to Napthine, Tehan

A meeting on Monday will call on Premier Denis Napthine to exempt from exploration in areas where there was strong opposition to the mining of onshore natural gases.

A meeting on Monday will call on Premier Denis Napthine to exempt from exploration in areas where there was strong opposition to the mining of onshore natural gases.

SOUTH-west fracking opponents are to meet with Premier Denis Napthine and member for Wannon Dan Tehan on Monday. 

No Gasfields Lower Glenelg spokesman Michael Greenham said representatives of anti-fracking groups from Portland, Casterton, Dartmoor, Byaduk, Drumborg and Digby would be among those at Monday’s meeting in Mr Tehan’s Hamilton office.

Mr Greenham, of Dartmoor, said the results of surveys carried out by the groups concerned about  the possible mining for coal-seam and other unconventional gases in the south-west would be presented to the two politicians.

He said the surveys revealed strong opposition to the development of onshore natural gas with up to 96 per cent of some communities doorknocked objecting to the industry.

Mr Greenham said people were concerned about the possible impact of fracking and other practices used to access unconventional gases on groundwater and also about potential adverse effects on their health and their land values.

“It’s not just a bunch of farmers saying they do not want people mining in their backyard,” Mr Greenham said.

“They are saying they do not want it in anyone’s backyard.”

Chloe Aldenhoven, a spokeswoman for the Lock the Gate alliance opposed to onshore natural gas development, said Monday’s meeting would call on Dr Napthine to exempt from exploration those areas where there was strong opposition to the mining of onshore natural gases.

Ms Aldenhoven said there had been less community activism against fracking close to Warrnambool but she expected opposition would grow as people saw what was happening in other communities.

She said a community meeting was held in Warrnambool recently to garner opposition and community surveys were being undertaken in Panmure and Brucknell. 

Monday’s meeting will precede a public meeting on the issue at the Heywood Football Netball Club from 2pm-8pm next Tuesday.

Tuesday’s meeting will be convened by the state government as part of a statewide program that is seeking public input on the possible development of an onshore natural gas industry in Victoria.

The state government has imposed a moratorium on the mining for unconventional gases in Victoria at least until July 2015.

Mr Greenham said people who could not get to Heywood could register their name and opinions at the Lock the Gate stand at Hamilton Sheepvention this Monday and Tuesday.

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