Community & safety concerns
Currently, all our communities have significant strengths achieved through both substantial financial and voluntary investments over the past 20 years which have our communities well placed into the future.
Even if a minority of our exploration licences progress to full production, all previous investment will cease to be sustainable and the liveability of our township communities would have been taken away by the very people who we have elected to protect us.
Our laws, enforcement and preparedness are clearly lacking, yet our Coalition Government is continuing to proceed into new mining projects without ensuring the proper regularity guidelines and frameworks are in place to maintain the health and safety of our environment, the community and our future land use sustainably.
Currently, many government departments like Earth Resources (DSDBI), VicRoads, catchment authorities, DEPI and the like have had their funding dramatically slashed.
How can our agencies administer and oversee the changes that should be occurring to ensure mining development in our populated rural and regional communities is properly regulated, enforced and complied?
See - Amendments to mining laws to strengthen the enforcement powers of the State’s regulator
Why are our communities worried
- View photos of real communities surrounded by mining
The gas industry is unusual in that what is required for exploration involves much of the infrastructure for actual commercial extraction.
Thousands of litres of polluted water are brought to the surface as aquifers are penetrated and fracking injects chemicals.
So, in this exploration phase, where has this waste water been treated and where has it been disposed of?
Two companies (including Lakes Oil) have had approval for fracking in 2007 and '08. The remains of containment pond still exist.
WATER USE - FACT
All mining production uses large volumes of water for many aspects of production including exploration.
For most of the state of Victoria, current water allocations are full which means for a lot of mining projects the company will need to purchase land to trade water allocation rights, (what is groundwater & SWR role in CSG mining- fact sheet
Of particular interest is Coal Seam Gas (CSG) "Any mining activity which diverts and degrades large quantities of water will inevitably have a significant impact upon the agricultural sector in Victoria."
Tight gas uses even more water than in CSG production
Read media link here for story "CSG is coming to Victoria and we are nowhere near ready". CSG exploration is different from normal exploration as they need to actually hydraulically fracture to obtain data.
ROADS - FACT
Rural road networks will become more congested ferrying heavy transport vehicles for infrastructure, water, chemicals and gravel up to 24 hrs a day.
Road surfaces and bridges will deteriorate quickly with no current requirement for mining companies to contribute to maintenance of road surface integrity.
Councils do not receive rates from mining development so who pays for roads improvement.
Government have not yet answered this.
Currently, their obligation is to return road surface to its original surface condition that existed prior to mining operations but only on completion of mining operations which could be many years after production has commenced.
Farmers can see how their lands would be industrialised with hundreds of drilling wells connected to roads and pipelines.
Groundwater has naturally occurring toxins including radioactive material that remains locked under the surface, however, the CSG stimulation process brings these toxins and saline to the surface in large volumes with the waste water.
Additionally, industry documents are revealing well casing issues that are allowing methane gas to escape into the aquifer system. > watch video The Sky is Pink - I asked an industry specialist about well casing failures that were claimed in this video and he acknowledged that it happens but as to the percentage is dependent on the age of each well. Considering each well is there forever, well casing failure is of significant concern.
These chemicals are then, unfortunately, dispersed:
- into the air through wind,
- into the waterways through floods,
- along our roads by mining transporters,
- into our communities through drain networks, dust and contaminated infrastructure
- into our drinking water and onto our farmland through treated waste water discharges
Local, State and Federal Government:
Given the lack of any formal strategic planning and damning reports on ineffective compliance and enforcement, how can our three levels of government prove to regional Victorians that the decisions they are making now are the right economic decisions to ensure our economic survival into the future?
Local Governments are questioning State Government's mining expansion and apparent disregard for conflicting land use.
- show us the strategic plan for land use and access for our rural and regional communities?
- where are the no-go areas?
- are you prepared to provide the legislative reform to ensure the mining industry does not have an unfair advantage over agricultural land, landowner rights, environment and compensation? PDF (1.4MB) EDO Reform Submission
All mining development comes under the Planning & Environment Act, however, are exempt from the provisions thereof.
This is in total conflict to the objectives of the principle act as all mining will always have and always leave an impact.
We are still awaiting governments reform of the Environment Effects Statement process from 2012.
Licences and approvals should be based on due processes not Ministers discretion to override decisions and/or concerns
Let us know what your concerns are and go to contact us.