Congratulations to the Victorian Parliament for finally passing the legislation to ban fracking in the state. Fracking is bad for our health, and an increasing number of reports from the United States show that there are adverse impacts on the health of nearby residents. Importantly, the burning of fossil fuels causes climate change. The increasing frequency of heatwaves, bushfires, floods and severe storms are costing Australians dearly in terms of health and social disruption.
It is clear that we need to transition away from fossil fuels. The federal government’s love of projects such as the proposed Adani coal mine is a travesty for the environment and negates any realistic attempt to reduce global emissions.
Australia is being left behind in a global trend to stop burning fossil fuels to improve air quality and to mitigate our changing climate. China invested $US103billion in renewables in 2015, one-third of the world total. Yet in Australia, more than 5000 jobs in renewable energy have been lost since 2011 under the government’s policies. The banning of fracking in Victoria is a small step in the right direction. Let us hope the federal government takes note of how dearly Australians value their health, environment and future.
Dr Liz Bashford, Doctors for the Environment Australia, Geelong
First published in The Age on 10 March 2017