SEVENTY-five concerned Wellington Shire residents packed out Sale Neighbourhood House on Wednesday night to seek more information on coal seam gas (CSG).
The at times emotionally charged meeting featured representatives from Friends of the Earth, Lock the Gates Gippsland and ExxonMobil.
Friends of the Earth representative Cam Walker said there was a need to protect Gippsland from onshore operations to ensure food security.
“We have about 24 exploration licenses that include CSG alone, or CSG and/or brown and black coal (in Victoria),” he said.
“It’s in the exploration phase and there is a number of technologies that companies believe will allow them to access the gas at a commercial scale.
“Our assessment is with everything that is happening in the world at present, we need to be looking after our food security.
“We have this interesting narrative from the government that says our farmers should get smarter, (be) our food bowl to Asia, and we should be exporting and yet at the same time we have this double pressure.
“On the west side, we’ve got urban sprawl that is pushing in to West Gippsland and across this belt, we have got the risk of new fossil fuel development.”
Mr Walker said that Gippsland was imperative at this point in terms of food security, and would become more important in the future.
While Mr Walker said he was concerned about ExxonMobil stepping into the local exploration license, he said a united front could fight potential onshore operations.
For more read Friday’s Gippsland Times.