.Victorian Coalition Government amends law to ban BTEX chemicals in
.Napthine Government ensuring there are strong protections for environment
.Moratorium on onshore natural gas activities remains in place
Legislation has passed through Parliament this week that enshrines in law a ban on the use of BTEX chemicals in hydraulic fracturing to protect Victoria’s environment, water assets and prime agricultural land.
Minister for Energy and Resources Russell Northe said the legislative ban would ensure that these chemicals will never be used in this way in Victoria.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is acting to ban the use of BTEX chemicals to make sure precious natural resources like groundwater are never put at risk by their use,” Mr Northe said.
“Victorians can have confidence that this Government is determined to ensure the protection of our environment and agricultural industries.”
There is currently a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing and all other onshore gas activities in Victoria while the Napthine Government undertakes a 12 month community consultation process and carries out scientific studies into the potential impact of onshore gas activities on water resources.
“Unlike Labor who allocated 73 licences for coal seam, shale and tight gas exploration and approved 23 fracking operations without any community consultation, we are engaging with the community and want to gain a comprehensive understanding of the issues before making decisions on this important matter,” Mr Northe said.
BTEX chemicals, which include benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene, can be harmful to human health and aquatic ecosystems. The use of BTEX chemicals in hydraulic fracturing is currently prohibited as a result of the moratorium, and the legislation passed will enshrine the ban in law for the future.
Mr Northe said The Greens had been up to their usual tricks spreading misinformation and creating unnecessary community concern. While the former Labor Government fracked freely without any community consultation the Greens stood idly by.
“In fact, a search of parliamentary Hansard shows the Greens did not raise the issue of BTEX chemicals and hydraulic fracturing at all in the Legislative Council during the last term of the Parliament of the former Labor Government,” Mr Northe said.
“Let me be clear, we have amended legislation to ban the use of BTEX chemicals and the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing remains firmly in place – anyone who suggests otherwise is simply wrong.
“Not only does this legislation pave the way for banning the use of these chemicals, it sends a strong message that the Napthine Government is taking a responsible and vigilant approach to protecting the environment.
“The Coalition Government committed to banning BTEX chemicals and this follows through on that commitment,” Mr Northe said.