Huge swell of public opposition to new oil plot release in protected marine park

Press release - 6 February, 2018
February 7, 2018: The Australian community are more opposed to fossil fuels at any time in history and the government must recognise concerns and cancel the release of new oil and gas exploration exploration areas, particularly that crossing into a protected marine park in the Great Australian Bight.

The 21 plots open for consultation as part of the Australian Government's proposed annual Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage Release are in Bass Strait, off Port Fairy, with a number of plots off Western Australia and in the Great Australian Bight (GAB) overlapping a protected marine park.

“Since the consultation period began more than 3200 people, including workers from local tourism and fishing industries, have made submissions expressing their concerns and opposition to the new oil plot releases in the GAB,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Senior Campaigner, Nathaniel Pelle, said.

“There is massive community opposition to oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight, from everyone from fishermen and environmentalists to federal politicians and local council mayors. And it is only continuing to grow.

“The GAB is a pristine area home to one of the most significant whale nurseries in the world and thousands of unique species, including more than 250 species discovered in 2017 and previously unknown to science.

“We cannot afford to gamble away one of Australia’s hidden treasures with high-risk oil drilling.”

Pelle said it was irresponsible of the government to be releasing new acreage plots at a time when Australia is already on track to miss its commitments under the Paris agreement and petroleum cars are being phased out all over the world.

“Oil giant ExxonMobil last week declared that oil demand would need to decline by 20 per cent by 2040 in order to meet the two degrees limit agreed to by Australia as part of the Paris Agreement. The UBS global autos survey released in November predicted that almost every sixth car sold in the world will be electric by 2025,” Pelle said.

“Drilling in the Bight is not only gambling with irreplaceable marine life and fishing industries,  with cities such as Madrid, Mexico City, Paris, and Athens already committing to removing petrol vehicles from their roads by 2030, it’s also a bad bet against a future in which the end of the oil age is inevitable.

“The offshore oil industry, like the coal industry, is in a state of decline with job cuts and project cancellations occuring on a regular basis. Oil companies have admitted that oil-related job prospects in South Australia would be ‘negligible’. Backing electric cars and renewable technology on the other hand will ensure jobs for the future.

“It seems like Australian governments have missed the memo.”

For interviews contact:

Simon Black

Greenpeace Australia Pacific Senior Media Campaigner

0418 219 086 /