The natural and agricultural landscape of Victoria must be protected from the potential harms of Coal Seam Gas exploration and mining
- Legislative Council of Victoria
The Petition of certain citizens of the State of Victoria draws to the attention of the Legislative Council the growing public concern regarding:
· The expansion of the mining industry across Victoria, particularly black & brown coal, Coal Seam Gas (CSG) and other “unconventional” gases (eg.shale and tight gas);
· The privileged legal, planning and financial treatment the mining industry currently receives;
· The lack of public information provision, legal rights and participation in decision making about whether or how proposed fossil fuel developments go ahead including the right to appeal a licence decision and to enforce a breach of mining, environmental, health and safety and competition laws;
· The lack of protections, compliance and accountability for a variety of problems caused by the Mining Industry within Australia and overseas including contamination of waterways, groundwater and soils, deterioration in health, safety and liveability of our regions etc;
· The lack of balance of conflicting interests in favour of net community benefit and sustainable development; and
· The large degree of “scientific uncertainty” that surrounds new mining technologies that can only be tested in the field” when it may be too late.
The Petitioners therefore request that the state government immediately:
· Ban hydraulic fracturing (fracking) permanently across Victoria;
· Ban any further approvals for black and brown coal mining, exploration or production of CSG, new coal and tight gas across Victoria;
· Put in place a moratorium on all current licensees while the government undertakes a major reform of Victoria’s mining legislation and regulations in accordance with Policy & Law Reform: Reforming Mining Law in Victoria by the Environmental Defenders Office to ensure:
o Full participation in decision making, more rights and respect for regional communities;
o More protection of the environment including sensitive areas like prime agricultural lands/agribusiness, national parks, forests, reserves etc.
o Improve planning and management of competing land uses eg. mining and farming, mining and tourism, mining and conservation etc.
o Adopt a cautious approach whereby the full onus is on the Mining Industry to prove safety, undertake remedial works and provide adequate compensation
· Immediately make a real policy and planned transition to investment in renewable energy sources not further expansion of fossil fuels including black and brown coal mining, CSG, and other “unconventional gases”; and
· Ensure that planned and sustainable development occurs for the benefit of our present and future generations.
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