Thursday, 20 August 2015
Montara Oil Spill
I am extremely disappointed that this motion has been denied formality. Tomorrow will be six years since the Montara oil spill, and we still do not know whether that spill has had an impact on Indonesian waters, on the seaweed farmers and on the fishers, particularly of West Timor. I have been up to the island. I have seen with my own eyes the damage that has occurred to seaweed farms. I have also spoken to fishers firsthand on the impacts they have felt in reduced productivity. We do not know whether the Montara oil spill had an impact on these seaweed farmers and fishers.
What the Indonesian fishers and seaweed farmers are asking for is simply, at this stage, an investigation of whether there has been an impact. They are not even saying that there has been; they are saying, 'Please investigate this.' I understand from the experts that it would still be worthwhile carrying out such an investigation. If the oil was there, it would still be there. I am very disappointed that you are not paying attention to this particular important issue. (Time expired)
A Senate motion is not the appropriate mechanism for dealing with complex foreign policy issues. The Montara oil spill occurred six years ago. The Australian government has shared the results of the operational monitoring reports developed during the incident response and the long-term environmental monitoring undertaken in Australian waters in the years since the spill. Indonesia has sovereignty over the territory in question. As such, environmental monitoring in the territory is an issue for the government of Indonesia.