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Greens warn against shale industry startup in Tasmania

Media Release
Christine Milne 9 Aug 2013

The Greens have joined Oatlands farmer Brett Hall to call on the government to stop shale gas and oil exploration in Tasmania.

"This is a dangerous industry that puts our precious water and farming land at risk," Australian Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne said.

"The proposed licence boundaries mean that farmers from right across the area including Ouse, Hamilton, Bothwell, Oatlands, Campania, Richmond, Kempton, Broadmarsh, and even in the vicinity of New Norfolk, are now facing enormous uncertainty and pressure. That simply isn't fair to farmers already struggling to stay on the land.

"The company says that shale gas in Tasmania is ‘low entry costs, high potential gain'. But for farmers it's high entry cost and no gain.

"I have visited communities in NSW and Queensland where the risks were not understood by the community until it was too late. Tasmania must stop this industry before it gets off the ground.

"The exploration company has a good history in geothermal energy. It should recognise the best interests of Tasmanians and their shareholders lie in the clean energy that can build brand Tasmania, not poison it.

"It makes no sense to invest in a fossil fuel industry at the end of the fossil fuel age. This company has gone from geothermal to gas. It is a backward step. "

Tasmanian Senator Peter Whish-Wilson said the Greens had been working hard to give farmers the right to say no to mining on their land and protect groundwater.

"Our farming land is too valuable to risk. Only the Greens have stood with farmers against shale and coal-seam gas in other states, and we'll do so in Tasmania.

"We've proposed many changes to the law to give farmers more rights and protect water sources but both Labor and Liberal back the mining companies.

"Tasmania's future is being the clean energy battery for the nation - we should be focused on renewable energy rather than mining for hydrocarbons."

Mr Hall, a beef and sheep farmer whose property is under threat from an exploration permit application, said he is worried about the long-term impact of exploration and mining on his land.

"Why should I take the risk with my land, water and my health, and my children's future, for the short-term economic gain of mining companies?" Mr Hall asked.

"The damage it could do to our water is my main concern. Clean water is essential to all life, and contamination of our water sources from the use of chemicals that are frequently used for shale gas and oil is a real danger.

"Damage done to our aquifers from shale gas and shale oil mining would make the water unsuitable for our livestock."

Attached is a map of the proposed exploration licence.


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