Farmers and Traditional Owners from every state and Territory in Australia have spoken out in the lead-up to the COAG Energy Council on Friday 19 August, rejecting proposals by Federal Energy and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg to reduce regulation of unconventional gas mining.
Phil Laird from Lock the Gate Alliance said “The Federal Government needs to drop its flimsy scare campaign claiming community opposition to unconventional gas has driven up gas prices and reduced supply.
"There is a global gas supply glut and vast offshore reserves available for Australia, we don’t need risky onshore gas.
"Australians are paying through the nose for gas because our governments have allowed the big four export gas companies to operate like a cartel and drive up domestic prices to exceed the global price. That’s the gas crisis that COAG needs to fix.
"That’s why we’re calling for COAG Energy Ministers to act to dramatically increase the transparency and accountability of the gas market and to promote renewables, whilst also acting to reject outright Minister Frydenberg’s proposals to reduce protection for land and water resources," he said.
Ian Clarke, a farmer from Paraparap, in Victoria said “It’s unacceptable for the Federal Government to push the unconventional gas industry agenda at the expense of our democratic processes. We’ve had an extensive Parliamentary Inquiry and 75 communities have declared themselves Gasfield Free – we’re calling for the Victorian Government to go ahead and ban onshore gas permanently."
Brett Hall, a farmer from the Central Highlands in Tasmania said “It is outrageous for the Federal Government to try to over-rule the very popular 5-year moratorium on fracking that we have in place in Tasmania. We know that the future for Tasmania is in renewables, not unconventional gas, and we’re calling for the Tasmanian Government to stick to their guns."
Nick Fitzpatrick, Traditional Owner from near Borroloola in the Northern Territory said, "There is a massive opposition to fracking across the Territory, and the Federal Government should not be trying to force it on us. We have pristine land and water we want to share with the rest of the world through tourism. We don't want to put it all at risk with contamination from gasfields."
Phil Herbert, a farmer from the Liverpool Plains in NSW, said “There is no future for risky CSG in core food-producing regions like north-west NSW. The NSW Government should heed the latest $1.5 billion write-down by Santos of its GLNG project in Queensland, and stop supporting this financially stricken industry and instead move to defend the booming agriculture sector."
Dr Anne Poelina, Nyikina Traditional Custodian from the Kimberley Region in Western Australia said, "The Kimberley is threatened by up to 40,000 shale gas wells in the future if we don’t act to protect it now. We’ve got too much to lose, it’s too precious what we have up here. We’re not going to let any government, state or federal, come in and roll out the red carpet for the fracking industry."
Mango farmer Rod Copeland, from Irwin in WA's Mid West, said, "We need more not less regulation covering this invasive industry. In the Mid West of WA we are an important part of the continuous supply of fresh green, clean produce to all Australian consumers and this cannot be put at risk. The WA Government's Water for Food program is an integral part of this and it is ludicrous to allow unconventional oil and gas extraction to go ahead over this food bowl."
Merilyn Paxton, a landowner from the Limestone Coast in South Australia, said, "The answer to future energy supply in South Australia is clearly solar thermal with storage, not over-priced gas which puts our best farming lands at risk and has driven up energy prices nation-wide."
Sarah Moles, a member of the Western Rivers Alliance in Queensland said, "Coal seam gas in Qld is expected to draw down over 469 water bores in the Western Downs, and plans for shale gas fracking in the Lake Eyre Basin will put the world’s last free-flowing desert rivers at risk. We need stronger protections for our most precious water resources, not weaker."