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VFF calls for halt to gas exploration

Victorian farmers have called on the Victorian Government to extend its moratorium to all types of unconventional gas exploration for at least another term of government.

June 19, 2014 3:00am

Victorian farmers have called on the Victorian Government to extend its moratorium to all types of unconventional gas exploration for at least another term of government.

After a heated debate at last week’s VFF Annual Conference in Melbourne, delegates refused to back a resolution demanding an outright ban on coal seam and other forms of onshore gas development.

Some members warned onshore gas posed huge risks to agriculture, but others wanted more information before coming to any conclusion.

But members were in unison when it came to calling on all political parties and candidates to declare their positions on the development of the state’s onshore gas reserves before the November 29 state election.

VFF land management chair Gerald Leach said: ‘‘Victorian farmers have legitimate concerns about the potential impacts from onshore gas on the environment, and especially ground and surface water.’’

Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber applauded the VFF resolution.

‘‘The state government wants to keep this issue under wraps until the election ... but I’m with the farmers for an ongoing ban on gas drilling,’’ Mr Barber said.

The VFF’s Sunraysia Branch was unsuccessful with its resolution to the VFF conference ‘‘that the VFF opposes the extension of the Goods and Services Tax to food’’ and a second opposing ‘‘any increase in the rate of the GST’’.

Most delegates argued the VFF needed to hold off locking itself into a position on the GST until the federation prepared its submission to the Federal Government’s review on tax reform.

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