The Federal Government has announced that a vast area of ocean around Australia will be offered up for offshore oil and gas exploration. This includes 21 areas across six basins covering 80,000 sq km in Commonwealth waters.
We know that seismic testing and oil and gas production is bad for marine environments and the life that depends on them. We know it is bad for commercial and recreational fishers. We know that communities don’t want to be looking out at drilling rigs in an otherwise pristine environment.
Recently the International Energy Agency (IEA) declared that there is no room for new fossil fuel investment if we’re to avoid catastrophic climate change.
This announcement is at odds with climate science and community opinion. It is also at odds with our commitments made under the Paris climate agreement.
It includes a large section of the western coastline of Victoria, from Port Campbell along the coastline that includes the Great Ocean Road and the 12 Apostles. Coastline that represents important sea-country and stories for First Nations groups.
Just last year Friends of the Earth got together with Surfers for Climate and local community groups to say #NoWayOtway and oppose an expansion of drilling in state waters along this same stretch of coastline.
With both State and Federal Governments now looking to expand drilling in the Otway Basin We now have a dual threat on our hands.
Belinda Baggs, Co-Founder Surfers For Climate has this to say about the recent announcements:
"During a climate emergency opening up new offshore oil and gas exploration acreage is ludicrous. The idea of handing over an additional 80,000 sq km of pristine seas to the fossil fuel industry has to be a joke! When will the decision makers of Australia begin to consider animals, ecosystems, climate and the communities they are supposedly representing? This disregard is unacceptable! As a Victorian surfer and ocean lover I'm appalled at the 7 new areas located in the Otway Basin.
This ocean is wild, thriving with marine life and hosts an abundance of much needed kelp forests sequestering carbon from our atmosphere. This bioregion and the local economies that rely on it being healthy need to be protected not passed to fossil fools. Time for action before its too late”
Check the full response and actions from Surfers for Climate here.
We need to get the attention of members of the federal government based in Victoria, and let them know we don’t want offshore development.
Below are some regional MPs in the Coalition. Please contact them or mention them on social media (using the #NoNewGas and #NoWayOtway hashtags), and ask them to intervene to protect our coast by calling on the government to cancel the oil and gas acreage in Victoria.
If you feel inspired, all Liberal federal MPs in Victoria can be found here.
We also know that the time for new fossil fuel development is over. While the federal government keeps pushing ahead with its ‘gas led’ recovery, the climate science is clear: If we want to have a hope of avoiding catastrophic climate change we need to keep remaining fossil fuels in the ground.
Friends of the Earth will continue to track which companies apply for licenses along this coastline and alert you to opportunities to pressure them.