A new five-part gas policy proposal will be taken to the next election by the Victorian Opposition, after a deal was struck between Opposition Leader Matthew Guy and his Nationals counterpart Peter Walsh.
If the Opposition is elected in November 2018 and the proposal, announced on October 9, is passed, it will allow onshore conventional gas exploration and production in Victoria on a case-by-case basis and will also include the creation of a new royalty sharing scheme that will allow local landowners to benefit from gas produced from beneath their land.
However, the current government said opening farms up to drilling was a no-go.
‘‘The only problem Matthew Guy is addressing by opening our farms up to drilling is Malcolm Turnbull’s political problem,’’ a government spokesperson said.
‘‘When it comes to fracking in our farms and prime agricultural land — the Andrews Labor Government says no.’’
The Opposition have said they will not lift the ban on fracking but they have recognised the need to do something different in the conventional gas space with energy prices for both electricity and gas rising.
‘‘The Liberal Nationals continue to support the ban on fracking and coal seam gas exploration and production in Victoria to protect our farmland and our water supplies,’’ Mr Guy said.
‘‘The Liberal Nationals will also introduce a domestic gas policy that ensures new gas discoveries are for the benefit of Victorians.’’
Mr Guy said the new proposal backed their position on renewable energy.
‘‘Our onshore gas policy complements our position on renewable energy and provides a clear alternative to Daniel Andrews’ reckless, go-it-alone VRET of 40 per cent by 2025.
‘‘The Andrews Labor Government’s ideological decision to triple the taxes on Victorian brown coal and pursue a go-it-alone 40 per cent Victorian Renewable Energy Target, as well as banning all new sources of conventional onshore gas, has set off a chain reaction that led to the sudden closure of the Hazelwood power station, massive increases in energy prices and a dependence on Tasmania and NSW for reliable electricity,’’ he said.
The Victorian Opposition’s five-part gas policy proposal:
■Continue to support the existing legislative fracking ban and ban on coal seam gas exploration and production.
■Legislate to allow onshore conventional gas exploration and production in Victoria on a case-by-case basis.
■Introduce a domestic gas policy for new onshore and offshore gas.
■Create a new royalty sharing scheme that will allow local landowners to benefit from gas produced from beneath their land.
■Give landowners a right of veto over conventional gas exploration and production on their land.