No More Gas-led Insanity
By Extinction Rebellion Australia, on 15 July 2021
XR Red Rebels sound the alarm to protect sacred icons on the Victorian coast from gas exploration
XR Red Rebels from the South West Victoria and Ballarat joined forces with local communities to highlight moves that threaten regional communities and unique coastal landscapes.
Around 13 Red Rebels and 20 - 30 other supporters were at the demonstration, with a busload coming from Melbourne to join in. This action was done in concert with XR South West Vic.
Watch a beautiful video of the action with soundtrack from Narrow Daylight - Diana Krall & Elvis Costello
The Australian Government recently announced it will open up the possibility for gas exploration and drilling as close as 5km to the iconic tourist attraction and natural wonder of the 12 Apostles on the South West coast of Victoria.
The federal government announces new areas for offshore oil and gas exploration each year. In June 2021 it released 21 areas across six basins covering 80,000 sq km. Guardian journalist, Graham Readfearn, reported that:
Maps of areas released by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources show the area near the tourism icon starts south of the town of Port Campbell and stretches east, along the coastline made famous by the Great Ocean Road and the 12 Apostles.
At the same time the Victorian State Government lifted its three year moratorium on onshore gas eploration from 1 July this year. Writing in The Conversation, Samantha Hepburn, Director of the Centre for Energy and Natural Resources Law at Deakin Law School, Deakin University explained that:
The state government first introduced the moratorium (temporary ban) on onshore conventional and unconventional gas production in 2017, enshrined in the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990. It effectively made it an offence to either conduct coal seam gas exploration or hydraulic fracturing (fracking) until June 2020.
The ban was originally imposed amid strong concerns about the environmental, climate and social impacts of onshore gas expansion. But lifting the ban to allow conventional gas exploration while banning fracking and unconventional gas (coal seam gas), doesn’t remove these concerns.
These decisions have been made even though the International Energy Agency increasingly warns that exploring and tapping new fossil fuel reserves must stop this year if the world is to reach net zero greenhouse emissions by 2050.
For back ground on this decision and the politics of a gas led recovery for Australia, watch an ABC Four Corners report aired in April 2021.
This is just the beginning of what could be a long campaign.