The Victorian government passed a bill in parliament on Tuesday that bans all onshore fracking in the state in a move labelled as a "win for regional Victoria".
In a move likely to induce the ire of mining companies, the bill will see Victoria become the first state in Australia to ban onshore unconventional gas exploration and development through methods such as fracking and coal seam gas.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, who presented the Bill, took to Twitter to celebrate.
Fracking banned. It's official. Congratulations to all the communities who stood up for their farmland and their future.— Daniel Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) March 7, 2017
In a statement released on Monday, Victorian Minister for Resources, Wade Noonan said: "This is a historic day for our state. We promised we would ban fracking – and that is exactly what we have done.
"This is a win for people power and regional communities across Victoria who have campaigned for years to see this ban in place."
#BREAKING : Victoria bans fracking.— Ed Hunter (@EdwardJWHunter) March 7, 2017
"Minutes ago, the Andrews Labor Government made history by becoming the first state to ban fracking."
The move comes after years of calls from regional farming communities in the state to ban unconventional gas in light of concerns about the potential environmental impacts it could have.
The decision also marks the extension of the temporary ban on conventional onshore gas exploration and development until the end of June, 2020.
The Victorian government has said it will use this time to continue research, conducted by an expert panel of scientists, into the potential risks of fracking on the environment.
"We will now use the moratorium on conventional gas exploration to better understand its potential risks and benefits and we'll listen to the experts," Noonan said.
In response, Victorians took to social media to express their satisfaction with the ban.
@DanielAndrewsMP Smart move. Scale up the renewables. Lots of jobs to generate. Proceeds to stay onshore.— Rob Harris (@serpenteye) March 7, 2017
@DanielAndrewsMP Well Done Victoria!! Leading the Way forward to a cleaner, safer and preserved environment for future generations to enjoy!— Gabriella Vegan Fox (@GabriellaS24) March 7, 2017
@DanielAndrewsMP well done wow what a defeat that's great hope it's gone for good— Rachel (@RachtheScot) March 7, 2017
Fracking is the process of drilling into the earth before a high-pressure liquid mix of water and other chemicals is used on sedimentary rock in order to release gases stored inside. The term 'Fracking' refers to the fracturing of the rock throughout the process.
Why is it controversial?
The Fracking process has caused environmental concerns due to the use and transportation of huge amounts of water. Issues have also been raised over the potential for harmful chemicals to be released during the shattering of the rocks, as well as the threat of tremors and earthquakes.
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