Calls by Victorian Labor to ban exploration for new forms of gas in Victoria are hypocritical, unnecessary and would cost jobs, Minister for Energy and Resources Michael O'Brien said today.
"This announcement is proof, if any more was needed, that Victorian Labor has sold its policy soul to the Greens," Mr O'Brien said.
"It was the former Labor government that issued more than 70 per cent of the current licences that cover coal seam gas exploration in Victoria.
"It was Labor's former Energy Ministers, Theo Theophanous and Peter Batchelor, who spoke of the potential for coal seam gas to contribute to Victoria's economic development.
"Victorian Labor talks about jobs, but the only three policies they have announced would each kill jobs: a new public holiday, support for Federal Labor's carbon tax and now a job-killing moratorium on exploration for new forms of gas," Mr O'Brien said.
Mr O'Brien said Victoria already had robust and effective resource, environmental and water protections in place.
"Victoria's environmental and resources legislation differs from those operating in many other states. We have strong protections and opportunities for community input built into the licensing application process," Mr O'Brien said.
At present there is no coal seam gas production in Victoria.
"The Government will continue to work closely with all industries and local communities to protect the environment while delivering responsible economic growth, job creation and opportunities to develop affordable energy supplies," Mr O'Brien said.
"Labor's leader and energy spokesperson, both from the Socialist Left faction, are to be condemned for joining with extreme green groups in opposing any exploration for new forms of gas and engaging in baseless scaremongering around regional Victoria."
"The Government will not support this Labor stunt, nor Labor's hollow call for an inquiry."
Peter Batchelor MP, Address-in-reply, Governor's Speech 1 March 2007
"The opening of the Otway Basin gas fields, the proposals for new large wind farms and gas-powered stations, combined with the potential for coal seam gas and the emerging mineral sands industry of western Victoria, mean that the south-west has the potential to develop significant energy-dependent industries."
Theo Theophanous MP, Questions without Notice, 27 October 2005
"... Western Victoria is seeing massive resurgence in exploration and investment. You would already know, President, about the massive $260 million Iluka Douglas project near Horsham and Hamilton. ...I am pleased to advise the house today that there are new proposals and more exploration in mineral sands, in gold, and in a new one in this area for coal seam gas."
Evan Thornley MP, National Gas (Victoria) Bill, Second Reading, 10 June 2008
"We here in Victoria have a special opportunity, firstly, because we have very high electricity emissions that could be reduced substantially by a transition to gas-fired power, and secondly, because we have massive deposits of brown coal which could be liberated to generate a large amount of that gas, or it may come from the coal seam methane."
Communique of the Standing Council on Energy and Resources (comprising all Federal, State and Territory Ministers for Energy and Resources), 9 December 2011
Coal seam gas is strategically important as it supplies 32 per cent of the eastern states' domestic gas production, it assists in containing power prices in a carbon constrained economy and is a substantial source of export income and employment.
Approaches to coal seam gas development will continue to be informed by sound science and high quality data, and utilise appropriate risk management frameworks ... in transparently protecting natural, social and economic environments while enabling the environmentally sustainable use of land for multiple compatible purposes.