"The community concerns that led to the ban on unconventional gas extraction and moratorium on onshore conventional gas development deserve to be taken seriously, and they have been through the multi-year process of community consultation, environmental assessment and geological study that underlies today's announcement. Ai Group participated in the diverse and robust stakeholder advisory panel, including a range of community, farming, environmental and business representatives, that was closely consulted throughout this work.
"The process has been long but the result is high quality information and a lack of surprises for the community. There is likely to be a significant, though not game-changing, volume of gas potentially recoverable in Western and Eastern Victoria through conventional means. The environmental context is now very well understood and the risks are extremely low and manageable with good practice and good regulation. We look forward to the refinement of the regulatory framework through continued broad stakeholder consultation.
"Gas is a critical input to Victoria’s economy today, including as a feedstock for many basic products, an energy source for industry and households and a fuel for dispatchable power. All of those roles may change in the years ahead, but a future supply crunch is in no-one's interest and it makes sense to take steps now that assist energy security.
"However there is a long way to go before direct impacts for energy users from today’s decision. Further commercial exploration to establish proved and probable reserves will take years in the best case. Developing those reserves will take years more. With the global oil and gas sector roiled by its own problems and broader economic headwinds, we may not see substantial commercial activity for some time. It remains wise for the State Government, industry and the community to chart a course for a successful energy transition," Mr Piper said.
Further comment: Tim Piper 0411 430 301