Anti-fracking protesters march on Premier's Warrnambool office

TOP LEFT: Portland’s Andrew Delony joins anti-fracking protesters who marched through Warrnambool to Premier Denis Napthine’s office.  141011AS04 Pictures: AARON SAWALL
TOP LEFT: Portland’s Andrew Delony joins anti-fracking protesters who marched through Warrnambool to Premier Denis Napthine’s office. 141011AS04 Pictures: AARON SAWALL

MORE than 50 people protesting against fracking dragged a mock oil rig to the doorstep of Premier Denis Napthine’s Warrnambnool office on Saturday. 

The city’s new anti-fracking group, calling itself the “Unfrackabools”, organised the short march to coincide with an international day against the controversial mining method. 

Critics of unconventional gas drilling say it could pose a threat to the south-west’s farmland and water supply if the moratorium on unconventional gas is lifted in July next year. 

The government has embarked on a 12-month community consultation and scientific study to decide whether or not to allow the industry to use the controversial method.

On Saturday, protesters posted a large open letter outside Dr Napthine’s South West Coast electorate office thanking him for the current ban. 

There’s been less interest in Warrnambool on fracking compared to other parts of the south-west. 

Gas exploration is heating up as a hot topic in the Glenelg Shire communities, particularly in Portland and Casterton. Drilling is under way for gas just across the South Australian border with activists claiming the water table could be at risk. 

Unfrackabool group member Heather Cooper said the next aim was to see Warrnambool City Council take a stance against fracking. 

“We haven’t been able to get traction here like in the Portland and Casterton areas,” Ms Cooper said. 

“The message has been getting around Victoria for a while. Glenelg Shire has declared itself gas-field free. Moyne Shire has also opposed fracking. 

“We would hope Warrnambool City  Council will do the same thing.” 

Last week, Greens senators Richard Di Natale and Larissa Waters toured the region to build up opposition to fracking. 

Fracking — a method of using high pressure sand, water and chemicals to fracture rocks and release gas is used in both shale and coal seam gas wells. 

Groups such as Lock the Gate oppose all forms of fracking, however the CSIRO told The Standard this month it could be harnessed more safely in shale and tight gas operations. 

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