Tuesday, 12 February 2019
Great Australian Bight
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) a six year survey of the Great Australian Bight (the Bight), conducted as part of a joint effort by the South Australian Research and Development Institute, CSIRO, the University of Adelaide, Flinders University and BP, has discovered more than 400 previously unknown species,
(ii) the Bight is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet,
(iii) BP and Equinor's own modelling of an oil spill in the Bight shows the scale of disaster that is possible, and
(iv) Equinor plans to commence drilling in the Bight as early as next year; and
(b) calls on the Federal Government to suspend all current oil and gas exploration and drilling licences, and move to ban future oil and gas drilling in the Bight.
The government supports the safe and responsible development of Australia's offshore oil and gas resources. Australia's offshore regime has strong environmental, health and safety protections overseen by an independent expert regulator, in NOPSEMA, the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority. Rather than unscientific bans, NOPSEMA relies on expert scientific evidence and will not allow any activity to proceed unless it is safe for the environment, the community and the workers.
Labor notes the motion, the new information provided as part of the BP assessment process and the concern raised around oil spills. Labor expects all relevant information to be considered as part of environmental assessments.