Wednesday, 26 February 2020
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) Norwegian oil company Equinor, has announced it is discontinuing its exploration drilling plans in the Great Australian Bight,
(ii) this is an opportunity to celebrate the pristine and precious Great Australian Bight and to protect it for future generations and the rest of the world to come and experience,
(iii) the Bight is ecologically and environmentally significant and home to some of the most unique wildlife in the world with 85% of marine life found in the Bight found nowhere else,
(v) in July 2018, the South Australian Parliament called on the state government to work with the federal government to seek listing under the World Heritage Convention of the waters, seabed and coastline of the Great Australian Bight as a matter of urgency; and
(b) calls on the Federal Government to submit the Great Australian Bight for consideration as a World Heritage Site.
Australia needs new oil and gas developments to ensure energy security, to bring down prices and to support Australian jobs. The Great Australian Bight is home to some of Australia's most successful and sustainable fisheries. It is also one of our most prospective basins for petroleum resources and has the potential to contribute to Australia's energy and economic security. Development of our petroleum resources in the bight would bring jobs and business opportunities, especially to South Australia. The Chief Scientist has found that Australia has a world-class offshore regulator and effective offshore regime. Any activities would have to have all the relevant environmental approvals. Communities around the bight should ignore Greens scaremongering on this issue.
One Nation will not support this Greens motion, which calls on the Senate to hand the Great Australian Bight to the United Nations. Australia is home to many unique and diverse species of marine flora and fauna. However the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, which governs the World Heritage Convention, should not be handed sovereign power over Australian territory. In 1981, approximately 348,000 square kilometres of Australia's Great Barrier Reef was signed up to the United Nations World Heritage areas. Since then we have had to answer to global consortia of unelected nobodies who can dictate our use of the reef. One Nation will vehemently oppose any motion that willingly sells out Australia to the United Nations and its treacherous control measures.
Labor won't be supporting this motion today. We believe science should always be at the centre of environmental decision-making. This motion seeks to politicise the World Heritage listing process by referring to specific resource projects and political polling and is detrimental to public confidence and trust in the World Heritage process. Decisions about supporting consideration for World Heritage listing should be unbiased and based on the UNESCO criteria for the listing of natural heritage.