Monday, 10 February 2020
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) Asset Energy has announced that it will not proceed with plans for seismic testing in the Petroleum Exploration Permit 11 zone, which was originally planned for thousands of square kilometres of ocean from Newcastle through the Central Coast to Manly in New South Wales,
(ii) while this is welcome news for ocean life, exploration through drilling could occur soon causing irreversible damage to the marine environment, and
(iii) there is a climate emergency and further coal, gas or oil reserves should not be developed if we have any chance of preventing more than 1 degrees of warming; and
(b) calls on the Federal Government to cancel Petroleum Exploration Permit 11.
The government is committed to the safe and responsible development of Australia's offshore oil and gas resources. Any proposed well in the PEP 11 exploration permit will require full approvals from the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority before any drilling can commence. The Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, has found that NOPSEMA is a world-class regulator with the world's best processes and practices. New gas resources close to demand centres are vital in order to bring down energy prices, to save manufacturing jobs and to bring down emissions. The Greens job-destroying policies put the economy at risk and undermine responsible climate policies.
Labor will not be supporting this motion. We support rigorous safety and environmental assessments that consider whether impacts and risks are acceptable on the basis of independent scientific expertise. Labor also believes that science and consultation, including with the community, should be at the heart of NOPSEMA's decision-making processes. All political parties should work towards coherent and effective policies to deal with climate change.