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Industry disappointed with Victorian gas drill ban

"Industry is disappointed with the decision to maintain blanket bans on unconventional gas drilling. However, the Victorian Government's additional review of conventional onshore drilling does give some hope that new sources of much-needed gas may be developed," the Head of Ai Group's Victoria Branch, Tim Piper, said today.

"Thousands of Victorian jobs depend on the use of gas for energy and feedstock in industry. And we are just emerging from a winter in which tight supply and high demand sent spot gas prices soaring, contributing to the electricity crisis in South Australia. Victoria and other states have ambitious plans to increase renewables, which will further increase the importance of gas as a support to our energy markets. Our nation's energy ministers have agreed on the vital importance of getting more gas flowing from more suppliers.

"The State Government should put greater emphasis on more scientifically based regulation that facilitates the development of gas resources with appropriate environmental safeguards rather than a continuation of blanket bans.

"While today's announcement falls well short of this, we welcome the action the Government will take to deepen understanding of the scale of Victoria's onshore gas resources, and the benefits and risks associated with them. We appreciate the Victorian Government's ongoing consultation with industry and other stakeholders and we look forward to representing industry's needs as part of this process.

"This leaves the way open for onshore drilling to be conducted when it is shown that gas is available and can be safely produced onshore through conventional drilling, as it has been across the world for many decades.

"Industry will continue to pursue the possibility of both conventional and unconventional drilling, but we recognise that conventional drilling is more important in the near term," Mr Piper said.

Further comment: Tim Piper – 0411 430 301