MEDIA RELEASE 9 October 2018

Environment Victoria and the Victorian National Parks Association have welcomed today’s decision by Planning Minister Richard Wynne to require a full Environment Effects Statement (EES) for AGL’s controversial proposed gas import terminal at Westernport.

Concerns over the proposal have been raised time and again by the local community, scientists, and environmentalists, and the decision on the EES comes as Reachtel polling released by Environment Victoria shows that there is little community support for the project.

“Together with the community, we are pleased that there will now be a proper assessment of the impacts of AGL’s damaging and polluting project,” said Environment Victoria Campaigns Manager Dr Nicholas Aberle.

“It is critical now that all work on site and along the route of the pipeline ceases immediately. We share the alarm of local residents that significant on-site works appear to be underway.

“Our research shows that only two percent of residents in the state seat of Bass support importing gas from interstate or overseas. A domestic gas reservation policy and greater use of renewable energy and energy efficiency are seen as much better solutions.

“There is deep community concern about the impact of the project on the local area. Over 80 per cent of locals saying they are worried about the gas terminal’s impact on threatened species and migratory birds. 72 per cent of voters are concerned about the impact on Victoria’s greenhouse pollution.

“While we’re pleased there will be a thorough environmental assessment, like many residents we believe the project is unnecessary and polluting and should not go ahead.

“It is ridiculous to think that as AGL is pushing this import project, Australia is about to become the world’s largest exporter of LNG. We shouldn’t even entertain the idea of a new industry importing gas.

“Ahead of the Federal election, sanity must prevail. Australia must limit gas exports to provide enough for local consumers, as well as support households and business to use less gas and shift to renewable energy.

Victorian National Parks Association Shannon Hurley nature campaigner said: “The Planning Ministers decision for an EES is crucial to protect Westernport’s significant internationally listed Ramsar wetland, fisheries and valuable habitats, some of which are only found in Westernport Bay – and they are too important to get this one wrong.”