Local community groups are outraged that GeelongPort has entered into a commercial agreement with Viva Energy to extend Refinery Pier for a proposed gas import terminal, despite previously raising serious safety and environmental concerns about the project.
Geelong Renewables Not Gas Spokesperson Darcy Dunn said:
“This is a betrayal of the Geelong community. GeelongPort had serious safety and environmental concerns about the proposed gas import terminal, but instead of defending the community’s interests they struck a deal with Viva to make revenue off the project.
“The deal only relates to leasing the pier infrastructure and doesn’t reduce the safety or environmental risks they’ve previously raised. They’ve simply sold out the community and walked away from the public hearings.
“As recently as 19 July, lawyers acting for GeelongPort made a submission to the Viva Energy Viva Energy Gas Terminal Inquiry and Advisory Committee arguing that Viva’s gas terminal proposal should not proceed.
“The GeelongPort submission stated Viva had ‘failed to properly identify and assess a number of significant safety risks’ and ‘failed to properly identify and assess critical navigational and mooring risks and impacts’.
“A few weeks ago, GeelongPort was saying that the list of problems with this project was so long that it shouldn’t go ahead, and now we’re supposed to forget all those risks just because they’ve done a commercial deal with Viva? It’s insulting to the thousands of residents who have homes nearby and will have to live with the consequences.
“Gas remains a polluting fossil fuel and there are better alternatives to building a new gas terminal such as helping households switch to efficient electric appliances, which are cleaner and cheaper to run.”
Norlane resident Simon Reeves said:
“GeelongPort’s deal with Viva doesn’t change any of the safety risks for local residents. On two separate occasions last week the siren at Viva’s Refinery was sounded and emergency services attended to deal with alleged gas leaks. At the same time we are supposed to believe that Viva can properly manage the risks associated with a new gas import terminal.
“Just like Viva keeps community members in the dark about incidents at their sites, Viva’s deal with GeelongPort aims to conceal the significant safety concerns that GeelongPort raised in their expert testimony just one week ago.”
Viva ASX announcement, 27 July 2022: https://www.vivaenergy.com.au/media/news/2022/viva-energy-gas-terminal-project-update
GeelongPort submission to the Viva Energy Gas Terminal Inquiry and Advisory Committee (tabled document 381), 19 July 2022: https://engage.vic.gov.au/download/document/27962
About Geelong Renewables Not Gas:
Geelong Renewables Not Gas (GRNG) was formed in response to Viva Energy’s proposal to build a gas terminal in Corio Bay. We are proudly independent, non-partisan and funded by donations from our community. Website: https://geelongrenewablesnotgas.org