Image above courtesy of Stop Shenhua on Twitter
March 8, 2016
We've been campaigning to stop a new coal mine at Bacchus Marsh for years. Now there's a chance to see the end of this saga. We need your help: read on.
Victorian upper house MP Greg Barber recently brought to our attention that the minerals exploration licence for coal held by Mantle Mining and Exergen in the Bacchus Marsh area expires this month, as reported in local papers (see here for article).
We have met our local state MP, Don Nardella (who is supportive of our concerns) and we have written to the State Minister for Resources, Lily D'Ambrosio asking that the licence is not renewed.
Mineral exploration licences are usually given out and renewed without fuss by the department. However, we are informed that this year there will be a state government review of the issuing of coal exploration licences. Currently, we have been informed, the decision on issuing licence renewals rests with the Minister herself.
We intend to have our say in the coming review as to why we think coal exploration and new mines are no longer appropriate here. We are convinced by the evidence that climate change demands it, and that renewable energy can rapidly replace our current fossil fuel use.
We have asked Lily D'Ambrosio to put the Mantle/Exergen licence on hold – not to renew it – pending the outcome of the review.
Would you be able to write to her to express your support for our request?
Please write or email the minister:
Mail: Level 36, 121 Exhibition Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000
or phone her office on (03) 8392 2100.
Tell her that you want the Mantle Mining/Exergen exploration licence at Bacchus Marsh not to be renewed, at least not until the outcome of the review of coal exploration licences later this year.
Here's some reasons not to approve this mine, or new coal mines in general. It's not an exhaustive list! Click on the links for further information.
Submission on rezoning
11 September, 2015: MEG has made the following submission to council.
Moorabool Environment Group is opposed to rezoning land for a Bunnings store and others on Clifton Drive in Bacchus Marsh.
Considering all these points, MEG is opposed to rezoning the land at this point. We do not have a position for or against Bunnings in particular, but reach this conclusion in relation to the need for planning more sustainable transport options.
MEG is concerned at the lack of facility for active and sustainable transport options (walking, cycling, bus) in town. We think council needs to make steps to fix these gaps in particular, before putting a new, large traffic generator in the middle of one the worst traffic-affected areas.
As the town population is growing, these transport problems are getting worse. Measures for active/sustainable transport may or may not reduce road traffic, but give a healthy alternative for those wishing to avoid the traffic jams, reduce their personal pollution, or get fit.
On the other hand, a growing town means that other businesses will be looking to set up in town, and economic growth to support the growing population is not likely to be set back by refusing this particular application.
If the rezoning is approved, MEG asks council to ensure that traffic from the development does not exit or enter via residential streets, and that alterations to the intersection with Gisborne Rd make improvements in the areas of pedestrian and cyclist access/thoroughfare and investigate options for bus priority lanes etc.
Media release: Moorabool Environment Group,
26/11/2014. For immediate release.
A survey of candidates in the new state seat of Buninyong found at least two in favour of the investment, jobs and clean energy that would be generated if the electorate's three stalled wind farm projects were completed.
Moorabool Environment Group asked the candidates if they would support a Victorian renewable energy target “to make sure that the wind industry has an ongoing role in Victoria”.
“We found that while only the Greens support this practical measure as a matter of policy, the Labor candidate Geoff Howard was also willing to commit to support such a target in parliament and in his party room,” said Ben Courtice, Moorabool Environment Group secretary.
“Sonia Smith, the Nationals candidate, was very positive about having a state target, but only focused on smaller scale projects to supply energy on the premises. This is important for solar power, but in the south of the state large-scale wind energy, not solar, is the big hitter for reducing our high greenhouse emissions.
“Buninyong could be a leading area of the state for wind energy and jobs, but not without a clear policy to see it happen.”
Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews has indicated Labor may introduce a Victorian renewable energy target if the national Renewable Energy Target is removed, and a state target is Greens policy.
As yet, Liberal candidate Ben Taylor had not responded to the questions sent by the group.
Part of the controversy around wind in this election arises from the Coalition state government's harsh anti-windfarm planning laws, which the Greens have promised to repeal, and Labor are promising to significantly improve. However, already approved projects have been stalled for some time due to Federal issues.
“The wind farms approved for Moorabool have only been stalled because of uncertainty around the national Renewable Energy Target. If the incoming state government takes leadership with a state target, as Labor did in 2006, they could create several dozen ongoing, skilled jobs in the area; and hundreds of construction jobs over the years that they are being built,” Mr Courtice said.
“They would make a big impact on reducing Victoria's huge greenhouse footprint, and they would provide jobs and income to the farming communities of Moorabool.”
The three wind farms with planning approval in Buninyong are:
Lal Lal: Near Lal Lal and Yendon. 64 turbines, with a capacity of 130 megawatts (MW).
Moorabool: South of Ballan. 107 turbines, with a capacity of 321MW.
Yaloak South: East of Mt Wallace. 14 turbines with a capacity of 29MW.
For more information, please contact Ben Courtice on 0413 580 706.