March 22, 2012
Video: Victoria to export brown coal (7pm TV News VIC)
The Liberal Party Member for Bass, south-east of Melbourne, Ken Smith, is supporting a call by the local council to ban coal and gas exploration in the area.
The Bass Coast Shire Council voted at its meeting last night to ask the State Government to exempt the shire from coal and gas exploration.
The mining company Leichhardt Resources is asking the State Government for a licence to explore for coal and coal seam gas in the area.
But Mr Smith has told ABC Gippsland that mining would interfere with the electorate’s agriculture and tourism industries.
“The council is saying we do not want these works to be carried out in our particular area and I don’t think it’s discriminating against one company or another,” Mr Smith said.
“What it’s basically saying is that they’re not welcome to come into Bass Coast Shire.”
Earlier this week the State Government announced it would tender out billions of tonnes of coal resources in Gippsland.
Mr Smith says coal mining should be left to the Latrobe Valley.
“We’ve got a farming community down here and the last thing that we need to have now is people exploring the countryside from the shoreline up into the hills looking to dig the place up,” he said.
“We don’t want it, we don’t need it.”
Cam Walker from Friends of the Earth has welcomed Mr Smith’s comments.
“There is a growing demand across rural Victoria for a moratorium on new coal and gas exploration,’ Mr Walker said.
“So far, the Government has ignored the community on this issue. This intervention by Mr Smith changes the debate.
“Any new coal and gas operations will have major and long term impacts on rural landscapes.
“The Government ignores the community on this issue at its own peril. Mr Smith is to be congratulated for listening to local concerns.”