In response to Victorian Planning Minister Sonya Kilkenny’s disclosure in parliament today that an additional Environmental Effects Statement will need to be prepared, Environment Victoria and ACF Geelong welcomed the decision but maintained that the proposal should have been rejected outright.
Environment Victoria CEO Jono La Nauze said:
“While we’re pleased the government has acknowledged that Viva Energy’s current Environmental Effects Statement is completely inadequate, the planning minister should go further and reject this polluting project.
“Viva Energy has had years to get their proposal right and have failed to address considerable community concerns. They don’t deserve another shot.
“Viva Energy’s Environment Effects Statement was a mess and they submitted revised technical notes right at the end of the hearings, without time for other parties or expert witnesses to interrogate the evidence.
“The Andrews government just won an election promising to take much greater action on climate change – but Viva’s proposal is completely at odds with reducing emissions. Furthermore, if it ever goes ahead this gas import terminal could import fracked gas, undermining Victoria’s ban on the practice.
“The new Environment Effects Statement must take into account Victoria’s new climate change targets to cut emissions by up to 80 percent by 2035.
“The Victorian government should be supporting households and businesses to get off gas by offering much stronger incentives for efficient electric heaters and hot water systems. That would free up more gas for industrial users while they also make the switch to cleaner energy sources.
“We need clear timelines and targets in the Gas Substitution Roadmap to ensure Victoria can get on with the urgent job of upgrading Victorian homes away from gas to efficient electric appliances.
“The last thing we need is a new gas terminal that will lock us into relying on expensive imported gas for years to come.
Mr Darcy Dunn, a spokesperson for the Geelong Renewables Not Gas campaign, run by ACF Community Geelong, said:
“While we welcome the government’s acknowledgement that Viva Energy’s Environment Effects Statement was flawed, Viva have had their chance. They’ve submitted 10,000 pages of evidence. If they couldn’t get it right the first time, why should the community trust that they will get it right the second time?
“More than 2000 people and organisations made submissions against Viva’s project, including Geelong Grammar School, North Shore Residents Association, GeelongPort and many other community organisations and individuals.
“An additional process just places a greater burden on the community to respond. Why should the community have to do Viva’s homework twice?”
James Norman, Media and Content Manager