Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Questions without notice and ministers statements

Ministers statements: onshore conventional gas

Ministers statements: onshore conventional gas

Ms PULFORD (Western Victoria—Minister for Employment, Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy, Minister for Small Business, Minister for Resources) (11:57): I would like to take the opportunity to provide the house with an update and indeed something of a reminder about the outcomes of the Victorian gas program that was delivered by this government in 2020 and the work undertaken to implement it. I remind the house that the Victorian gas program was a comprehensive and scientific program led by my department the Geological Survey of Victoria. It was made possible because our government had the foresight to commit more than $40 million for its delivery some time before that.

The program was overseen by a stakeholder advisory panel led by our lead scientist, Dr Amanda Caples, and included robust stakeholder consultation processes. Over three years the program undertook geological assessments in the Otway and Gippsland basins to better understand the rock formations and whether there are likely to be commercial quantities of gas. It used groundbreaking technology to develop scientific data based regional scale models of the south-west and Gippsland to consider existing land uses, environmental values and landscape features in relation to potential onshore conventional gas projects. Following more than 800 engagements with local government, farmers, industry and environmental and community groups, the program found that restarting our onshore conventional gas industry could inject valuable new gas into the market for Victorians without compromising the state’s environment or our vital agricultural sector. The lead scientist found production could generate up to $300 million annually for regional Victorian communities.

Our government backed the science and enabled the resumption of onshore gas exploration and development from 1 July 2021, and we introduced new petroleum regulations in November 2021 to de-risk the industry. Unlike the gas exports out of Queensland, we ensured that Victorians will benefit from Victorian resources and announced that all new gas will be prioritised for local use. I would just like to remind the house that it was those opposite who put the moratorium in place and the Andrews Labor government who restarted— (Time expired)