Greater Geelong City Council said there had been extensive community feedback over safety issues, including the risk of collisions, massive explosions and the frequency of gas container shipments.
Forwood and Tadmore worry about how the terminal might affect the bay their classmates use for rowing and boating. They said Victoria should support the global push to avoid the worst ravages of climate change by rapidly ending reliance on fossil fuels, including gas.
“It is irritating and frustrating to see how the decisions and actions of older people destroy the future of young people,” Forwood said.
“Young people are only a third of our population but our whole future.”
Victoria is Australia’s largest consumer of residential gas, which accounts for around 15% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.
While the use of gas to generate electricity is declining, its use in residences and commercial establishments has remained relatively stable.
A Viva Energy spokesperson said many issues raised in the public submissions had been carefully assessed and included in its environmental effects statement, including studies of marine ecology, local amenity and safety.
“We are confident that … we can safely build and operate a new gas terminal, while minimizing community and environmental impacts,” the spokesperson said.
Environment Victoria says the gas terminal is incompatible with Victoria’s target to cut emissions by 50% by 2030.
“Viva has assumed that gas consumption will remain high until 2040, which is the equivalent of saying that the gas industry will do nothing to reduce pollution for two decades,” spokesman Greg Foyster said. “It is totally unacceptable.”
Viva’s proposal is the only LNG terminal on the cards for Victoria, after a plan by power company AGL for a terminal at Western Port Bay was rejected on environmental grounds.
Southeastern Australia could face gas shortages as early as winter 2023 due to delays at a planned import terminal in New South Wales and lower production in the Strait of Bass, according to the Australian Energy Market operator. These could be avoided by using less gas in power generation on cold days and accelerating the switch to electricity, he said.
Later this year, the Victorian Government will publish its Gas Switch Plan, mapping the transition away from gas. It should include more efficient use of gas, electrification, reduction of fugitive emissions and increased use of alternatives such as hydrogen and biogas.
LNG is a fossil fuel and a greenhouse gas, and its production and combustion drives climate change. Power generation is Australia’s biggest contributor to carbon emissions, accounting for 33% of total emissions.
A major International Energy Agency report last year warned that investors must avoid financing new oil and gas fields if the world is to meet the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.
A guide to the environment, what’s happening to it, what’s being done about it and what it means for the future. Subscribe to our fortnightly Clear Air newsletter here.