November 23rd, 2016
Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrew’s proposed permanent fracking ban in the state raises concerns about the validity of one primary industry’s worth over another.
In a statement Premier Andrews champions the benefits and worth of the continued support of the agricultural sector, dismissing the value and economic impact that the resources industry could provide to the State.
The problem as we see it? No one industry is without fault, all come with their own risks – which are in turn mitigated by careful planning and robust regulation.
So why can’t a resources industry exist alongside Victoria’s agricultural sector? Why does the Premier insist it can be one, and not the other?
In other states, the agriculture and resource industries have been coexisting alongside one another for more than fifty years. The existence of one industry does not have to mean the demise of the other.
Experience in Queensland in the past decade shows that agriculture can happily co-exist with substantial gas extraction and deliver enormous benefits – despite the misleading activist claims to the contrary. More on that here.
A number of regional towns in south-west Queensland are testament to the kind of reinvigoration available with gas development. A total of more than 5000 landholders are directly reaping the benefits and many more are getting irrigation water never previously available.
For example, this report into the benefits the gas industry has had on the Queensland economy represents the positive impacts of a thriving resource industry.
In another example, cattle born and bred on a Santos property in Queensland have been entered into the Royal Queensland Show for judging.
The steers were selected from Santos’ 5000 strong herd of cattle that graze alongside natural gas infrastructure on properties north of Roma.
The cattle are also fed on forage irrigated with treated water from coal seams which is produced during natural gas extraction.
The Premier states “the legislation will protect Victoria’s farming sector, which employs more than 190,000 Victorians and exports $12 billion in food and fibre products a year”.
Premier Andrews aversion to the gas industry flies in the face of conclusions drawn by the most authoritative voices in Australia’s science community.
And completely ignores the conclusion of the Victorian Government’s best environmental analysts, who have concluded that Victorian shale and tight gas extraction is “low risk”.