In a victory for People Power, the Australian state of Victoria has passed a law banning fracking!

The grassroots campaign against the unconventional gas industry has been fought for over 5 years, bringing together people and communities from across the state.  Resistance to the industry began from the moment new exploration licences were granted back in 2010.

Learning lessons from the State of Queensland and forging community alliances with local councils in the early years was key in winning an initial moratorium on fracking in 2012.  A growing number of towns and areas declared themselves ‘gasfield free’ – officially against gas and coal developments – and through this the movement built up political power.

A state inquiry into unconventional gas began in 2015, and a huge rally was held in Melbourne to show the breadth and depth of feeling against the fracking industry.  Pressure was maintained throughout the inquiry  with stunts including 2,000 sheep spelling out ‘ Ban Gas’ and a quintessentially Australian ‘Ute muster’ outside the Victorian parliament. 

The Government’s official response to the inquiry was delayed by a few months but when it eventually arrived the Premier of Victoria announced the decision to put a stop to fracking and unconventional gas in the state for good. The Victorian Government’s move means Australia has its  first legislative ban on fracking, joining key anti-fracking nations around the world including France and Ireland in understanding that passing a law to ban unconventional gas extraction is the strongest way to protect communities from this dirty industry . 

Legislation was tabled in November 2016 and passed through Victoria’s  Upper House in March 2017. This quote below from in our sister group in Australia sums up their feelings as the ban was approved! 

“Thank you to everyone who built and sustained this campaign. In a time of deep cynicism in politics, this shows what communities can achieve when they work together in a strategic and determined way. Drilling would be happening now in a number of places across southern Victoria if we all hadn’t got active.

It was the community who led this campaign and shifted the political parties. Without relentless grassroots organising, we would not have come as far as we have today”

— Cam Walker, Friends of the Earth Australia

This really is an inspirational story of how people organised and resisted this dangerous industry, fighting to preserve their farms, their environment and their communities. 

Read this full history of their campaign: http://www.melbournefoe.org.au/coal_and_gas