As the Victorian Government announces it will allow over 100 gas wells on some of Victoria’s prime farmland, Australia Institute analysis of the Government’s own Victorian Gas Project Progress report finds the decision is based on misleading claims that exaggerate benefits, understate costs and ignore alternatives.
The Government’s Victorian Gas Project Progress report reveals only very small benefits for the state even at the largest considered production level:
Despite claims of 6,400 jobs in the Premier’s media release, the Victorian Gas Project Progress report claims as few as 57, and at most 204 additional jobs, or 0.006% of the current Victorian workforce.
The increase in Victoria’s Gross State Product would be at most 0.17% relative to today and at most only 0.04% of current government revenue.
The report finds the development would not reduce wholesale gas prices or power prices.
At the same time, the Victorian Gas Project Progress report:
• Ignores the vast majority of the greenhouse gas emissions caused by the burning of the gas;
• Ignores cost-effective opportunities to further reduce gas consumption through electrification.
The report claims of local acceptance are based on a survey with a misleading positive bias in the design. Nonetheless, it finds only 9% of people think gas development would improve their region.
“The claims being made by the Victorian Government to justify gas development on some of Victoria’s best farmland are highly misleading,” said Mark Ogge Principal Adviser at The Australia Institute
“For the Government to claim it will create 6,400 jobs is grossly misleading. Their own research shows there will be as few as 57, and at most 204 more jobs as a result of gas development at any given time and the report acknowledges that it will displace an undisclosed amount of jobs in existing industries.
“The Gas Program Progress Report highlights just how measly the economic benefits will be for turning some of Victoria’s best farmland into an industrial gas field.
“There are few if any benefits here for local communities, only downsides. The real beneficiaries are the gas companies.
“Claiming they are banning Coal Seam Gas (CSG) is irrelevant and misleading as there is no CSG in Victoria.
“Just because it is ‘conventional gas’ makes little difference to the impacts. There could be over 100 wells and all the roads, toxic chemicals, processing plants, pipelines, and toxic water issues that are part and parcel of industrial gas production. These communities will now have no choice but to allow drilling on their land.
“Allowing onshore gas in Victoria is environmentally irresponsible with little or no economic benefits.”