Adam Morton of The Age reports that the Victorian Labor Opposition has called for a moratorium on new licenses for CSG exploration in that state, while safety concerns about fracking are investigated by a parliamentary inquiry.
At this stage, Friends of the Earth’s Melbourne branch doesn’t list any active CSG exploration in Victoria. However, there are currently 24 exploration licenses, and another eight applications under consideration. Exploration for additional brown coal (for drying and subsequent export) is actively proceeding in areas like Bacchus Marsh a town not far from Melbourne’s western fringe, in the face of considerable resident protest, and with the active encouragement of the state government. In fact, they’re planning to run a “communication strategy” touting the benefits of coal mining.
The conservative government’s cheerleading for the coal (including CSG) industry is matched with active opposition to wind power – where every resident within 2km of a proposed wind farm has the right of veto over it.
Given the number of already issued exploration permits, and the fact that a state election is still some time away, the practical and political impact of this decision is likely to be small. But it’s interesting nonetheless that the state ALP clearly thinks that coal’s expansion into new, heavily populated areas is starting to antagonize the Victorian public.