VICTORIA’s conventional onshore exploration ban will end mid-2021 in a move welcomed by a surprised industry after it introduced two bills to parliament.
One bill will formally end the moratorium, albeit a year after it was due to come off, and the other will ban fraccing permanently.
It is a surprising move from a premier who expanded onshore exploration bans and has pushed hard on a renewable agenda but Andrews said he is following the science and is looking to an "orderly restart" of exploration next year after three years of investigation by the Victorian Gas Program.
The results concluded conventional exploration will not "compromise the state's environmental and agricultural credentials".
The study concluded the state could enjoy a $310 million windfall "for regional economies" and create 6,400 jobs.
Companies will soon be awarded the rights over blocks in waters next to existing sites, it said.
The government said gas "will continue to play an important role in supporting Victoria's transition to a cleaner energy future".
Andrews said his government was "backing the science to create… and support regional communities" and banning facing "to protect farming communities".
The difference between the two was not made clear, though scientific inquiries in many jurisdictions, most recently Western Australia, have repeatedly suggested the practice can be safely conducted when scientific guidelines are adhered to.
Source: Energy News Bulletin
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