We need to voice onshore gas concerns

LETTER TO THE EDITOR:

GIPPSLANDERS should not be complacent about the recent announcement that all onshore gas exploration is on hold … at least until the new consultation process is completed.

Given that Lakes Oil chairman Rob Annells told local ABC how pleased he is about the new minister’s consultation process, I am sceptical.

It is vitally important that as many people as possible attend the consultations, so that the government will see that we really do care about this issue.

It is also not entirely clear how long the ban will last.

The wording of the minister’s announcement says that work plans will not be approved for exploration until the consultations and water studies are done, but it does not actually give an end date to this process.

It is really important that the government and the opposition (who may become the government by November) know what we think about the prospect of living in a gas field, crisscrossed by pipelines.

They may have their beady little eyes on the potential royalties which flow to state coffers if oil and gas move onshore.

In an era when the Commonwealth Government is starving the states of funds, we need to show both sides of politics that we will not accept them saying one thing before an election, and then conveniently unveiling deals with mining companies after the polls close.