The Greens are calling for fracking to be permanently banned in Victoria in the wake of an audit that found the state is still not ready for coal seam gas.
The state’s auditor-general, John Doyle, on Wednesday released his assessment of how the government is managing the risks and impacts of coal seam gas.
“I concluded that Victoria is not as well placed as it could be to respond to the risks and impacts that could arise if the moratorium is lifted,” he says.
But the Greens want the government to turn the moratorium into a permanent ban on all coal seam gas exploration in Victoria.
“Allowing this highly risky, highly toxic industry to go ahead would be reckless and a betrayal of regional communities,” Greens energy spokesperson Ellen Sandell said.
The moratorium, introduced in 2012, was due to expire midway through this year but the Labor government is awaiting the findings of a parliamentary inquiry before it makes a decision.
The Victorian Farmers Federation want the government to extend the moratorium until at least 2020.
The lobby group is pleased Wednesday’s report has highlighted its long-held argument that there is not enough science to support hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking.
The audit was critical of how the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport & Resources dealt with the growth of CSG exploration in the early 2000s.
At the time, the department was focused on encouraging industry development rather than addressing the risks of fracking, the report says.
While its approach has improved since the moratorium began, the department still lacks scientific information about the industry.
Current regulations are not effective and their very nature affects their transparency, clarity and efficiency, it says.