Ryan reaffirms moratorium commitment

DEPUTY Premier and Gippsland South MLA Peter Ryan reaffirmed his government’s moratorium on onshore gas exploration until at least July next year.

His statement follows a request last week by the Victorian Farmers Federation, for candidates in the November 29 state election to state their policy on the development of onshore unconventional gas and coal seam gas extraction by the process of fracking.

Speaking with the Gippsland Times, Mr Ryan said even that date would not necessarily be the date any action would be taken.

“If there needs to be more consideration beyond, then there will be,” Mr Ryan said.

“Our staring point is that we want to make certain we do everything necessary to protect our communities, with a focus of course around our agricultural production.”

“We are not going to trade what we know we have for something which we may or may not have, so we continue to hasten slowly with this and make decisions in a timely manner and implement whatever is done, if indeed anything is done, in a manner that pays regard to the first order of the day, that is ‘do no harm’.”

Greens candidate for Gippsland East Scott Campbell-Smith also responded to the VFF’s call to make his party’s position clear.

“We are utterly, unambiguously opposed to onshore unconventional gas mining, in all forms, in all places,” he said.

“In every state and Federally we’re advocating for bans on fracking.

Read the full story in Friday’s Gippsland Times.