With the price of gold rising rapidly, much of regional Victoria is seeing renewed interest from mining companies, who are seeking exploration licences. In the Upper Ovens and Kiewa Valleys, there is strong local opposition to mining. A survey of local attitudes to mining highlights that gold mining does not have social license to operate in these areas.

The group No Gold Drilling (and no more gold mining) in Our Shire Valleys has released the results from their survey:

They say:

‘Alpine Shire people reject more drilling and gold mining – in a landslide! The No Gold Drilling…Group’s survey using the Survey Monkey facility has been running for 2 months, and was closed at midnight on 25 June. The results are overwhelmingly against more drilling or mining.

Seventy six % of respondents thought more drilling and gold mining is “no longer appropriate” in the Shire, And 76% thought the Alpine Shire “should do everything possible to discourage future gold mining related activity in the Shire”, including aiming to amend the local Planning Scheme “…and/or publishing policies about its opposition to future gold mining related activity.

A whopping 80% of respondents emphatically disagreed with the question in the survey that “…the Alpine Shire should do what it can to encourage more gold mining related activity in the Shire.

There were a total of 273 respondents, about 85% of those were by Alpine Shire ratepayers and residents. This response rate is equivalent to the best any Council can reasonably expect for a survey of the community. And given it was run by a community action group it’s a brilliant result. To get the survey results in context, it’s worth keeping in mind that contemporary political pollsters are prepared to make projections about the entire Australian voting population intentions based on surveys of just 1000 respondents. Our respondent numbers are way above those pollster ratios.

We will be publishing a full report of all results of the survey in about a week. But we can say with confidence that these results make it patently clear that it’s entirely reasonable to conclude that an overwhelming majority of Alpine Shire people have had enough of the mini flood of exploratory drilling licence applications and think that more gold mining is not going to be good for the Shire. It’s our expectation that the Alpine Shire Council and government regulatory agencies are obliged to pay serious attention to the voice of the people of the Alpine Shire’.