Senate debates

Tuesday, 3 August 2021


Oil and Gas Exploration

1:34 pm

Photo of Peter Whish-WilsonPeter Whish-Wilson (Tasmania, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

Communities right around this country have stood up and said, 'No more oil and gas drilling, no more seismic testing off our coasts'. In this time of climate emergency, when we need to be transitioning to clean energy, at a time when we know that our oceans are broken and in need of significant repair and our care and attention, this is not the time to be exploring for oil and gas off our coasts. Right now, off Tasmania's coast, ConocoPhillips is preparing for a massive seismic survey in deep water 10 kilometres off the west of King Island. The King Island community, the King Island mayor, fishing stakeholders and crayfishing stakeholders have all expressed their significant concern, and this chamber, when we had motions, passed a motion supporting the concerns of those in King Island and those in Braddon in the north-west of Tasmania.

You might think this issue is funny, Senator Duniam, but I can tell you that in Braddon it's not a laughing matter. People in Braddon do not want to see more oil and gas exploration off their coasts. They do not want to see their fisheries put at risk at a difficult time in history, when they're struggling to regain their markets in the rock lobster industry. We know from recent studies, the first of their kind, off the coast of Victoria, not that far from King Island, that seismic testing has had a dramatic effect on fisheries, including the flathead fishery. Over 99 per cent of that fishery disappeared following seismic testing, and it still hasn't recovered. There are significant uncertainties. This is the time in history to put a ban on all new seismic testing in this country. It's what Australians want. There are better alternatives than oil and gas, and this chamber should show some leadership. (Time expired)