Tuesday, 27 March 2018
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) is currently considering an application from Petroleum Geoservices Australia to conduct 3D and 2D seismic surveys in environmentally sensitive waters off Port Lincoln and Kangaroo Island,
(ii) seismic testing involves blasting 260 decibels of sound every 10 seconds, and
(iii) this volume is louder than a space shuttle launch from its launch pad, a nuclear bomb from its epicentre, and the sound produced at the epicentre of Krakatoa's volcanic eruption in 1883, which was audible 4500 kms away from its source;
(b) further notes that:
(i) if approved, the seismic testing program would impact the direct migratory path of southern Bluefin tuna, southern right whales and sperm whales, and
(ii) a seismic test of this proposed scale can result in death;
(c) commends the actions of the Kangaroo Island Council, the Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association, Sea Shepherd, the Australian Marine Conservation Society, the Wilderness Society, Greenpeace and concerned local community members in drawing attention to the potential harm that this seismic testing program could create if approved by NOPSEMA; and
(d) calls on the Federal Government to prohibit seismic testing in the Great Australian Bight.
The government does not support the motion. Australia has one of the most robust regulatory regimes in the world for offshore oil and gas. The only long-term way we can protect jobs and ensure energy security is to find new supplies of oil and gas. Exploration in the Great Australian Bight, including seismic surveys, has occurred safely since the 1960s. There are strict safety and environmental standards and the industry is overseen by an independent expert regulator, the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority.
I find it extremely disappointing that the coalition government in this place continues to put South Australian coastal areas and marine life at risk. Kangaroo Island is the jewel of our tourism crown, and this seismic testing is only some 40 kilometres off the coast of Kangaroo Island. It is going to devastate that marine area and the tourism industry, and South Australians don't want it. The sooner these turkeys wake up to that the better.