BASS Coast Council has reaffirmed its opposition to coal mining and coal seam gas fracking on the casting vote of the mayor.
The vote comes after the Federal Government threatened to reduce GST payments to states including Victoria and South Australia that have banned fracking of CSG.
The motion reaffirmed the council’s opposition to coal mining and fracking and commitment to supporting renewable energy and actively reducing greenhouse gases.
The council first voted to oppose exploration and mining of coal and unconventional gas within the shire in 2012 in response to a strong community campaign which resulted in several towns declaring themselves “CSG-free zones”.
“Ten years of work by the community and council went into that decision,” Cr Ellis said.
Cr Michael Whelan said the council plan promoted the use of renewable energy.
He was critical of a federal government campaign to scapegoat those states opposed to fracking.
“Victoria produces more gas than it uses. You can buy gas cheaper in Tokyo than you can buy it here.”
However, Cr Les Larke argued that the council should stick to its core business of roads, rates and rubbish. “I’m a little more the basic type of local councillor.”
Cr Bruce Kent said while he opposed fracking, he was not against conventional gas exploration.
Cr Julian Brown said there was a question of whether the council should deal with such issues because it was not in the position of grant exploration licences.
“If this motion is passed, it means this council opposes the mining of all coal within Victoria, including the Latrobe Valley.
The initial vote was tied at four all (Councillors Ellis, Clare Le Serve, Whelan and Pamela Rothfield voted for; councillors Larke, Stephen Fullarton, Brown and Kent voted against) but the amendment was carried on the casting vote of Cr Rothfield, the Mayor.
The council will write to the Premier, State Opposition Leader and local state and federal MPs advocating its position and seeking a commitment to “scientific evidence-based decision making”.