Contributed from Victoria
Daniel Young, the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party (SFFP) member in Victoria’s upper house, plans to introduce an amendment that will overturn the state’s present moratorium on fracking exploration till 2020.
The moratorium was introduced by the Andrews Labor government in the Resources Legislation Amendment (Fracking Ban) Bill 2016 and passed in the Victorian Lower House on 9 February 2017, with the support of the Liberal Party.
Campaigners, including many farmers, had been waging a long campaign to put to rest, what they consider a noxious industry. There is incontestable evidence that hydraulic fracturing, or the use of chemical laden water under very high pressure to fracture rocks, contaminates ground water and makes it toxic to humans and animals. Everyone has seen the images of burning gas impregnated water.
Regardless of the environmental problems, industry lobbyists continue to campaign hard to clear the way for a resumption of exploration and extraction.
Malcolm Roberts, the CEO of the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association has accused the government of “…surrendering to the activists’ fear campaign against hydraulic fracturing.”
It looks very much like Daniel Young has been successfully lobbied and this puts the SFFP at loggerheads with farmers, who had thought that the party was on their side. They had made it clear that fracking posed a threat to the viability of their farms and now find that they have not been listened to.
Issuing a media release on the topic, Daniel Young said “There is no reason onshore conventional gas exploration should not proceed, as the industry has proven it is committed to investing in an operation that is safe and viable for its long-term growth”.
No one else has seen evidence of this commitment. The statement ignores the counter evidence, which, besides the health risks, suggests that fracking will deplete water available for irrigation and other uses and depressure underground aquifers and cause land subsidence, damage road and gas and sewage infrastructure, effect groundwater drainage, cause coastal erosion, dry up springs and cause seepage from saline bores into the aquifers.
A farmer commented on Facebook a day after a meeting with the SFFP on 23 of February. “Over the last five years I have met with so many politicians and department people on the issue of onshore gas in Victoria, and I believe the meeting I had yesterday was the most disappointing and unproductive I’ve attended throughout this fight.
Daniel Young of the SFFP wants to introduce an amendment on the Resource Legislation Amendment (Fracking Ban) Bill 2016. This whole Bill is about protecting communities, agribusiness, tourism, aquifers and all surface water ways and wetlands. Now Daniel, being a shooter and fisher himself who uses the wetlands and water ways for his recreational activities that he claims he loves so much, cannot see the importance of this Bill as a whole, as he won’t look past the cane reeds.
Every shooter, fisher and farmer I have had the privilege to be associated with, fully understands the importance of clean, healthy water ways and aquifers to sustain all our activities. It is now time for Daniel to come out of the swamp and take notice”.