Farmers are rejoicing after the Victorian Government passed a bill to permanently ban fracking, making it the first state in Australia to pass such legislation.
The legislation will also see a moratorium on conventional gas extraction until 2020, and VFF president David Jochinke labelled the result ‘‘fantastic’’.
‘‘This decision will give security to our landholders and reinforces a commitment to long-term investment in the Victorian agriculture industry,’’ he said.
The decision came after an Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics and Sciences report released last week predicted farm value would reach $63.8billion this financial year.
Mr Jochinke said it was a relief to see the Victorian Parliament recognise agriculture’s contribution to the local economy.
‘‘What we have seen is a clear acknowledgement by our politicians of agriculture’s worth,’’ he said.
‘‘Victoria has precious groundwater reserves and because the true environmental impact of onshore gas mining is still unknown, it would be reckless to put those reserves at risk without any hard scientific evidence that shows the risks of onshore gas development can be properly managed.’’
The Victorian Opposition moved to amend the legislation to include a right for farmers to veto mining activity on their land, if the industry is pursued in the future.
Mr Jochinke said despite the amendment not being included in the final bill, it was a pleasing step if the issue is revisited when the moratorium on conventional gas is revisited in 2020.