Victoria Is Banning Fracking And Coal Seam Gas Exploration

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It has been on hold via a moratorium since 2012, and now a new law to be introduced into Victorian State Parliament later this year will bring an end to fracking and coal seam gas exploration and development in the state.

The legislation covers "unconventional gas" -- natural gas obtained from difficult-to-reach areas requiring nontraditional drilling techniques criticised for being environmentally destructive.

ABC reported this morning Premier Daniel Andrews is assuring the ban will protect agriculture in the state, addressing concerns from farmers regarding environmental environmental and health risks connected with fracking.

The decision is in response to a parliamentary inquiry last year, the results of which were undecided on whether a temporary or permanent ban was the right course of action.

"Victorians have made it clear that they don't support fracking and that the health and environmental risks involved outweigh any potential benefits," Andrews said of the decision to go ahead with a permanent ban.

Under the legislation a moratorium on conventional gas extraction will be extended until 2020 -- which the Australian Workers' Union says will create "an exodus" of investment and jobs from Victoria.

Offshore gas exploration and development will also be permitted to continue, a move which has angered The Greens.

"We won't stop fighting until all onshore gas drilling is banned," spokeswoman Ellen Sandell said. "Today's announcement is a big step in that direction, but we won't relax until farmers and regional communities know they are protected from all onshore gas mining."

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