Sound economics as Victoria quits fracking for good

The Victorian Government’s decision to ban fracking is based on sound economic and energy policy.

Queensland’s experiment in unconventional gas has demonstrated that the economic benefits promised by the gas industry largely failed to materialise, and there has been an enormous downside to other industries.Arguments that the gas is needed have rung hollow as Australian domestic gas demand projections have been repeatedly slashed by the Australian Energy Market operator (AEMO), and a global oversupply of LNG has led to a crash in export prices.

Gas industry funded research into the impact on local communities in Queensland’s gas field areas has found that;

  • Local stakeholders in gasfield areas believe resource development has led to a deterioration in local infrastructure, skills, financial, environmental and social capital. (SMI 2014)
  • There were virtually no spillover jobs outside the gas industry itself. (GISERA 2013)
  • For every 10 new gas jobs, 18 agricultural jobs were lost (GISERA 2014)
  • Only 6% of people in these regions believed CSG development would improve their region. (GISERA 2014)

“The manufacturing industry has been one of the biggest losers with LNG exports allowing gas suppliers to drive up prices to Australian users, and suppliers exercising their market power keep Australian prices high even as global prices collapsed,” Principal Adviser at The Australia Institute, Mark Ogge said.

“We now have the ridiculous situation that Australian gas is now cheaper in Korea than it is in Australia. That’s a double-disaster for local manufacturing jobs.

“Experience now tells us that mining more gas in Victoria would not bring local gas prices down.

“Victorian shale gas is very expensive to extract, and wouldn’t be extracted unless gas companies could sell it at the current high prices.

“The days of cheap domestic gas are over – we are sending all the cheap gas overseas.

“Nor have promises of royalties materialised. Royalty projections in Queensland have been repeatedly slashed to a small fraction of original projections.

“Now the companies are even challenging Queensland Governments calculation of the emaciated remaining royalties.

“What benefits there are, have gone almost entirely to the overseas owners of global oil and gas companies licensed to export Australian gas, largely at the expense of Australian businesses and local jobs,” Ogge said.

Type of Publication:
Posted on:
30 August 2016

GP says Limestone Coast Health Assessment Study needed

symptomatology of gasfield

Limestone Coast Health Assessment Study Needed

Limestone Coast General Practitioner Dr David Senior is calling for a comprehensive, ongoing and detailed Health Assessment Study in the Limestone Coast before any gas extraction is allowed.

Dr David Senior, a General Practitioner from Robe, has written in a submission to the fracking hearing “Before any gas extraction were to be allowed to occur, a comprehensive, ongoing and detailed study of the entire region should be undertaken, to include the health of humans, animals and plants, with samples kept for future comparative analysis. Water, soil and air samples should be collected from a large number of sites across the region in addition to tissue samples from humans, animals and plants, as a baseline against which future similar samples could be measured.”

Dr Senior is recommending that this study would need input from organisations such as environmental toxicologists, environmental health scientists and public health professionals.

“I am calling on the Federal Government to commit funding for this baseline health study in our region. Baseline air and water testing must occur before any further gas developments”, Dr Senior says. “We need government to apply the precautionary principle and stop further gas development until it can be proven safe for human and animal health.”


Public rejection of Coal Seam Gas Mining nationally

Lock the Gate Media release 3 June 2016
Polling of 250,000 people confirms public rejection of CSG mining nationally.

Lock the Gate say this should trigger election commitments.

New polling confirms the public has rejected risky unconventional gas drilling and highlights the failure of both major political parties to act on community concerns on the issue in the lead-up to the Federal election.
The ABC has released polling data showing 67% of Australians are opposed to any easing of restrictions on coal seam gas exploration, and that this number had grown since the last Federal election in 2013.
Lock the Gate Alliance National Coordinator, Phil Laird said, “Clearly, there is widespread rejection of the unconventional gas industry by people across Australia given the profound risks that it poses to water resources and human health.
“This polling of more than 250,000 repondants confirms that opposition to CSG and unconventional gas is a massive issue in the lead-up to the Federal election and that controls on this risky industry need to be tightened not loosened, to address community concerns
“We’re calling on both major political parties to respond by:
• Fully protecting important water sources like Sydney’s drinking water catchment and the Great Artesian Basin in no-go zones.
• Acting urgently to protect human health by creating a national Environment Protection Authority and commissioning national research on health impacts of gas drilling.”
“The CSG industry has been a nightmare for families forced to live with it in Qld. The impacts on health, water and farming communities, as well as regional economies, has been severe.
“People across Australia have learnt the hard lessons from Qld and are saying very clearly that they think Governments must take stronger action against this industry. The time for action is now.
“This new polling also confirms previous regional polling which has shown 70-80% opposition to unconventional gas drilling in various communities across Australia and 96% in door to door surveys in farming districts,” he said.


Mine rehabilitation overhaul needed to avoid a massive toxic legacy



14 June 2016

Mine rehabilitation overhaul needed to avoid a massive toxic legacy

A new report highlights systemic and structural failures in the regulation of mine closure and rehabilitation in Australia and recommends the federal government set up a national inquiry to avoid the fading mining boom leaving behind a massive toxic legacy.

The Australian Conservation Foundation has today released two reports – a research report by the Mineral Policy Institute (MPI) examining the extent of the problem and a collection of stories about people whose communities have got a raw deal from mining.

The MPI report finds:

  • Most mine closures are unplanned and a result of economic and market factors
  •          A failure to reform the regulation of mine closures will result in long term pollution affecting communities, water, air and wildlife
  • While companies’ exposure to risk is usually protected by subsidiary entities and limited liability, governments and the community have limited protection against the social, environmental and financial risks when a project or company fails.

“This report reveals a looming disaster that urgently requires national action if we don’t want to have a string of off-limits toxic sites around the country and the public left to pay for their ongoing maintenance,” said ACF campaigns director Paul Sinclair.

“There are more than 50,000 abandoned mines in Australia and around 75 per cent of mines close unexpectedly or without proper site rehabilitation plans.

44Gallons of runoff

“Australia’s environmental laws are failing to protect our reefs, rivers, forests, wildlife and people from the legacy of abandoned mines.

“From Queensland Nickel’s Yabulu Refinery – which has a tailings dam only metres away from the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area – to the McArthur River mine, to the brown coal mines in the Latrobe Valley and the Russell Vale coal mine in Sydney’s drinking water catchment, there are serious risks of ongoing pollution.

“With the mining boom fading fast and multinational mining companies offloading their assets, this problem is about to get a whole lot worse.

“ACF calls on all parties to commit to set up an inquiry into mine closure and rehabilitation in the first 100 days of the next parliament so big mining companies are made to clean up their mess, not leave polluted water and land for generations to come.”

Contact: ACF senior media adviser Josh Meadows, 0439 342 992

Groundtruths report ACF MPI

Useful materials

  • The research report by the Mineral Policy Institute
  • The collection of stories about people whose communities have got a raw deal from mining
  • Audio of interview with Kaye Osborn, who lives a block from the Russell Vale coal mine near Wollongong
  • Audio of interview with Wendy Farmer, who lives near the Hazelwood mine in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley
  • Below, the Mineral Policy Institute’s media release.



A big hole in Australia’s long-term budget

A new report, Ground truths: Taking responsibility for Australia’s mining legacies outlines the legacy of Australia’s mining boom and makes recommendations for limiting the impact of poor rehabilitation on communities and government finances.

“Failure to control mining legacies could leave a massive and recurring budget expense, equivalent to billions of dollars per year, in perpetuity, due to ongoing environmental and social impacts which need costly management,” said Mineral Policy Institute (MPI) Chair, Dr Gavin Mudd.

The report calls for a national inquiry, with seven recommendations addressing issues of financial liabilities and reporting, regulation, life of site impact assessment, national reporting and greater jurisdictional cooperation.

“A national inquiry, full impact and closure reporting and greater jurisdictional cooperation could avoid the transfer of liability we are seeing as mine sites are closed and companies go bankrupt – leaving the cost of rehabilitation to taxpayers and local environments and communities.”

The report demonstrates how industry has acknowledged the growing problem and financial liability of mining legacies for decades and the slow response from Australian regulators. A national inquiry would be able to put a clear dollar figure on the cost of cleaning up Australia’s mine sites and propose reasonable regulatory reform.

“The financial cost of fixing mining legacies is clearly enormous, but can be solved through an effective, cooperative response. The social, economic, environmental and physiological impacts of mining are made harder to address. Australia needs to act now before the problem gets any bigger,” said MPI Executive Director and report author, Charles Roche.

“The mining industry, including the International Council on Mining and Metals, have long recognised the potential costs of mining legacies, governments should support industry with effective regulatory changes.”

Contact MPI Chair: Dr Gavin Mudd, 0419 117 494; Report author: Charles Roche 0450 901 714,



Renewable Energy 100% electricity and transport by 2050

Australia : We CAN get 100% renewable electricity by 2030! But do our political parties have the will?

The Homegrown Power Plan, a joint project between GetUp! and Solar Citizens, shows how we can repower the country with 100% renewable electricity by 2030.

How? By rebooting our failing electricity system, removing the roadblocks holding us back, and investing in the renewables boom.

A move to 100% renewable energy is practical, achievable, economically sound and overwhelmingly popular. Governments are being left behind by citizens voting with their feet (or their rooftops). It’s time they caught up.

The Homegrown Power Plan shows that 100% of our electricity can be renewable by 2030, and that 40% of our transport energy can be renewable by 2035, and 100% of both our electricity and transport energy can be renewable by 2050.

homegrown photo

Renewable Energy Jobs: Future Growth in Australia

Projections of the escalating risks of climate change under a business as usual, high emissions scenario are becoming more certain and more disturbing.  Electricity generation accounts for about 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The Australian Capital Territory and South Australia, are already leading the way in renewables aiming for 100% renewable.

Currently only 14.6% of Australia’s electricity is coming from renewable energy (Clean Energy Council 2016). At the same time, research suggests that Australia would need to source a minimum of 50% of its power from renewable sources by 2030 to achieve emissions reductions consistent with a 2°C pathway (ClimateWorks 2014).

Australia has the potential to generate a much higher proportion of our electricity and transport needs from renewable energy.   Our renewable energy resources are potentially capable of providing 500 times the amount of electricity we currently use (AEMO 2013; Commonwealth of Australia 2014).

A 50% Renewable Electricity scenario in 2030 will lead to over 28,000 new jobs, nearly 50% more employment than a business as usual scenario.

Job losses in the shift from coal fired electricity generation must be planned early with the community and industry involved.   As in other economic and technology shifts, jobs will be lost and new jobs will be created.  Some jobs will be easy to replace, while others may require re-training, up-skilling or relocation, or may disappear.  But 50% renewable electricity in 2030 will lead to nearly 50% more employment from electricity generation than business as usual.

Renewable Energy Jobs: Future Growth in Australia by Ernst & Young and the Climate Council of Australia.


(Photo from Mount Gambier)

We ask what renewable energy targets are being put forward by our political leaders?

  • Australian Labor is aiming for 50% renewable energy by 2030.
  • Liberal Party is aiming for 23% renewable energy by 2020. (Projected estimate is 34% by 2030)
  • The Greens are aiming for 90% renewable energy by 2030.
  • Nick Xenophon Team supports maintaining RET at 23% by 2020. And is investigating 100% renewable by 2030.
  • Family First have no renewable energy policy.

Limestone Coast participates in Australia’s National Highway Action

Lock the Gate Media Release

World’s Longest Highway Protest, All Australian States and Territories

Communities across Australia will take to our highways on June 25, 2016, as part of the world’s longest highway protest, to raise awareness about the risks of coal and unconventional gas mining to water resources in the lead-up to the Federal election.

What: People, colourful banner sand signs along 5,800km of Australia’s highways

When: Saturday 25th June 2016, starting mostly at 10am

Why: To raise awareness of the risks to water and food-producing land, and to encourage motorists to ‘Vote Water Not Gas’, as part of the Water4Life campaign.

Roadside protest

People will be stretched across 21 of the nation’s major roads and highways, and will also be active in Mount Gambier, Beachport, Naracoorte, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Darwin, Hobart, Cairns, Alice Springs and Canberra.

They will encompass numerous key seats including the electorates of Page (NSW), Petrie (Qld), New England (NSW), Barker (SA), Corangamite (Vic), Longman (Qld), Richmond (NSW), and Cowper (NSW).

New South Wales
Pacific Highway 694
Newell Highway 478
New England Highway 360
Thunderbolts Way 291
Hume Highway 105
Bruxner Highway 194
Bruce Highway 518
Bruce Hwy FNQ 328
Warrego Hwy (1 location)
Cunningham Hwy 500
South Australia
Mt Gambier – Penola – Naracoorte (Riddoch Hwy)
Millicent – Beachport – Robe – Kingston (Princess Hwy)
Mt Gambier – Port MacDonnell (Bay Rd)
Eastern entrance to Mt Gambier & western entrance to Mt Gambier (Princess Hwy).
Claywells Rd
Princes Highway, the Southern Ports Highway, the Millicent-Beachport Rd, the Robe-Penola Rd., the Adelaide Rd, Millicent, and the Beachport-Penola Rd  10
Hamilton Hwy 357
Princes Hwy 267
Western Australia
Forrest Hwy 204
Bussell Hwy
Brand Hwy 755
Great Northern Hwy
Northern Territory
Stuart Hwy 422
Stuart Hwy, Alice Springs 100
Ridgeley Hwy (1 location)
TOTAL 5,833



Solar panels generate 5 times as many jobs per megawatt as coal or gas

In 2014, more than 12,000 Australians worked in rooftop solar installation, larger by far than the coal-fired power station workforce. This should not surprise us.

Solar PV generates five times as any jobs in operation and maintenance per megawatt as coal or gas.

Solar thermal has four times the number of jobs per megawatt, and wind twice the number.


Solar Panels in Mount Gambier. Photo courtesy of Gambier Electronics.

Rutovitz, J. et al (2015) ‘Calculating global energy sector jobs: 2015 methodology update’, prepared for Greenpeace International, by the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney.

Earthquakes and Fracking

Earthquakes and Fracking information on Earthworks Earthquakes and Hydraulic Fracturing Fact Sheet

Earthquakes caused by fracking

Earthquakes caused by fracking wastewater injection

Washington Post Article

By Dan Keating and Darla Cameron

A lawsuit claims that Oklahoma’s great increase in earthquake activity has been caused by pumping waste from drilling operations back underground. The suit involves the largest measured quake in the history of the state, a 5.6 tremor that happened in Prague, east of Oklahoma City in November 2011. The pace of quakes with magnitude 3 or higher has increased since then, with 567 in 2014, and 52 in less than four weeks this month.

See article here

Earthquakes and regulations in USA

Many states in USA have been experiencing increases in earthquakes including Ohio, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas, and in some of states restrictions have been placed on fluid injection underground.

Oklahoma Corporate Comission issued restrictions on wells in earthquake prone areas. Similar steps have been taken in Texas.

Arkansas suspended injection wells after an earthquake swarm in 2011.

See more at:

The Limestone Coast of SA is the fourth most seismic area in SA.

The epi-centre of South Australia’s biggest earthquake between Kingston SE and Beachport occurred in 1897, magnitude 6.5, intensity 9. It was felt in Port Augusta and Melbourne, toppled chimneys in Adelaide and there was massive damage around Beachport, Kingston and Robe and liquefaction occurred.

slumping possibly due to liquifaction near Robe

Australia 100% renewable electricity by 2030

The Homegrown Power Plan, a joint project between GetUp! and Solar Citizens, shows how we can repower the country with renewable energy, reboot our failing electricity system and remove the roadblocks holding back the renewables boom.

Read the report here.

Get involved here

We must:

  • Reboot the system, rewiring our laws to deliver affordable, 100% renewable electricity.
  • Repower the country, turbocharging our existing renewable energy policies and adding some missing parts.
  • Remove the roadblocks, ensuring new renewables aren’t held back by the legacy of a bygone era.

A move to 100% renewable power is practical, achievable, economically sound and overwhelmingly popular.

We can do this:

  • By 2030 we can power all of Australia’s homes and businesses with 100% renewable electricity.
  • By 2035 we can meet around 40% of our transport needs with renewable energy as well.
  • By 2050 the whole energy system can be completely fossil fuel free.  Everything we do, from driving a car to hauling freight, from manufacturing to heating to taking a flight, can run on clean, affordable energy generated from the wind, sun, and other renewable sources.

Costs:  Decarbonising our entire energy system by 2050 means Australia gets a $800 billion slice of the global renewables investment boom, and all the jobs that come with it. Investing more in renewable means spending less on fuel. Between now and 2050, the shift to renewables and increased energy efficiency delivers enough fuel cost savings to cover 110% of the bill for building 100% renewable power.

Australia would save, on average: $9 billion a year on power sector fuel costs, $11 billion a year on transport fuel costs.

On the path to a clean energy future, our investment in fossil fuel free electricity starts paying itself off in lower prices as early as 2025, and by 2040 at the latest.

ps on sun

Analysis of scientific papers is damming against unconventional gas development!

Dr Jake Hays and Dr Seth Shonkoff reviewed the current scientific papers on shale gas between 2009 and 2015.

This assessment was conducted using the PSE (Physicians, Scientists and Engineers) Database on Shale and Tight Gas Development which is available at:

Over 685 papers on the impacts of unconventional gas development have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals between 2009 – 2015.  These have been grouped into topics relating to the gas development impacts such as air quality, climate, community, ecology, economics, general, health, regulation, seismicity, waste/fluids, water quality, and water usage.

Hays and Shonkoff looked at all these papers, choosing the ones that met their criteria – related to shale gas, new research etc.

papers chosen


Of the 61 publications in air quality, 46 met their criteria.

Of the 78 publications in health, 31 met their criteria.

Of the 114 publications in water quality, 58 met their criteria.

Hays and Shonkoff say “Our results indicate that 84% of public health studies contain findings that that indicate public health hazards, elevated risks, or adverse health outcomes.   69% of water quality studies contain findings that indicate potential, positive association, or actual incidence of water contamination.   And 87% of air quality studies contain findings that indicate elevated air pollutant emissions and/or atmospheric concentrations.”

Read the full study here.