Media Releases | 5th Aug, 2022

Response to Viva Energy hearings closure

In response to the closing of the public hearings into the proposed Viva gas terminal in Geelong, Environment Victoria’s Climate and Energy analyst Rai Miralles said:

“As these public hearings into Viva’s proposed gas terminal come to a close, the overwhelming extent of public opposition to this proposal from the local Geelong community has become abundantly clear.

“Many local residents and groups including Geelong Grammar School, North Shore Residents Group, Norlane Community Initiative, tourism and fishing businesses, and traditional owners have come out against this project because they are deeply worried about climate change,the project’s environmental impact and safety for nearby residents

“Even GeelongPort made a very strong submission, including evidence from globally renowned experts in LNG terminals and port navigation, highlighting that this is a risky project. Viva’s commercial deal with GeelongPort only relates to pier infrastructure and doesn’t change these serious concerns already presented to the hearings.

“Viva’s project rationale is flawed because they assume gas demand will remain the same from now until 2040, which means the gas sector would be doing nothing to cut emissions for twenty years. That’s completely unrealistic and ignores key government policies such as the Victorian government’s new Gas Substitution Roadmap.

“Right from the beginning, Viva tried to downplay the climate impact of this project by excluding the largest source of pollution – transporting the LNG in ships to Geelong. Their argument was they had ‘no control’ over where the LNG would come from. We’re pleased to see the Victorian EPA’s closing submission was skeptical of this reasoning and dismissed supporting evidence from Viva.

“Now is precisely the wrong time to be advancing a new gas terminal in a booming regional community that has already made it clear there is no social license for Viva to proceed in Geelong.

“The gas price crisis gripping Australia is a direct result of the gas industry choosing to cash in on surging global gas prices instead of supplying affordable energy to Australians.

“With global gas prices predicted to remain sky high for many years to come, importing gas from the global market is simply no solution to Victoria’s energy needs.

“Gas is a polluting and expensive fuel, and our analysis shows that a much smarter solution is to support households to switch to locally produced renewable energy, rather than build a new import terminal.

Geelong Renewables Not Gas spokesperson Darcy Dunn said:

“After public protests in Geelong and more than 2000 written submissions outlining concerns with Viva’s proposal, it’s clear the community doesn’t want this risky and environmentally damaging gas terminal in Corio Bay.

“Over the last few months the planning panel has heard a long list of concerns about this project. LNG is much more dangerous cargo than oil and we’ve never had this level of risk in Corio Bay before.

“Many local groups and experts noted in the hearings that the location is too close to people’s homes. Corio Bay is too narrow and shallow to safely maneuver such massive tanker ships.

“Viva’s proposal doesn’t include an adequate exclusion zone to reduce the risk if there’s a major safety incident. Dredging the bay will kill sea grasses and harm marine life, and Viva’s gas terminal would release more air and noise pollution which damages people’s health.

“Viva’s gas terminal would also be a massive source of greenhouse gas emissions in the region and will make it harder for the City of Greater Geelong to reach their climate target of net zero emissions by 2035.

“Geelong could be a renewable energy hub and this gas terminal proposal takes our community in the wrong direction at a crucial time.”

Media contact

James Norman, Media and Content Manager

Ph: available on Whatsapp +614 5129 1775