Fracking ban enshrined in Victoria's Constitution

Fracking banned in Victoria as Bill is passed

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BANNED: Resources Minister Jaclyn Symes says placing amending the Constitution to include a fracking ban will make it permanent.

BANNED: Resources Minister Jaclyn Symes says placing amending the Constitution to include a fracking ban will make it permanent.

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The Resources Minister says the move will make it a permanent ban.

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The Victorian government has enshrined a ban on fracking in the state's Constitution, but onshore conventional gas projects are on track to restart this year.

Fracking was banned in 2017 and the State Government promised at the 2018 election to put that ban in the Constitution to make it more permanent.

The Constitution Amendment (Fracking Ban) Bill 2020 has passed through the Upper House and Victoria's Constitution will now be amended.

It comes as the restart of the onshore conventional gas sector is on track for July 1.

This restart follows three years of scientific investigations by the Victorian Gas Program (VGP), which found an onshore conventional gas industry would not compromise the environment or the agricultural sector.

Conventional gas extraction does not involve fracking and instead accesses gas deep underground trapped by an impermeable rock layer.

Geoscience studies have located potentially significant onshore conventional gas resources in South-west Victoria and Gippsland.

In a press release, the State Government said production of the estimated onshore conventional gas resources could generate approximately $300 million annually for regional economies and create up to 6,400 jobs over the lifespan of these projects.

Victoria's regulations governing onshore conventional gas exploration are being improved based on the recommendations of the VGP's independent stakeholder advisory panel, made up of farmers, environment groups, industry representatives and local councils.

Public consultation on the new regulations will begin in April.

Minister for Resources Jaclyn Symes said no other government in the world had banned coal seam gas and fracking in their constitution.

"We're determined to make this a permanent decision," she said.

"We've listened to our rural communities who have told us they do not want the unacceptable risks that fracking brings that could impact our farming and tourism sectors."

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