NOPSEMA delay as Greens fight to legislate against oil drilling in Great Australian Bight

The Great Australian Bight. Photo: Brad Leue.

The Great Australian Bight. Photo: Brad Leue.

As the decision date draws close for BP’s application to drill in the Great Australian Bight, the Greens party have taken their fight to federal parliament.

Today, oil and gas regulating body NOPSEMA delayed their decision to approve the proposal for another 10 days.

Now, South Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young is set to introduce legislation to the Senate that would see the Great Australian Bight marine park protected from companies wanting to drill for oil and gas.

“The Parliament has to step in and make sure that this this national treasure is protected for generations to come,” Senator Hanson-Young said.

“BP will put this spectacular marine park at risk and, if they’re given approval, there are several other companies lining up behind them.”

Ms Hanson-Young asked what the point was of having marine parks if they were not “protected from exploitation”.

“Allowing the company responsible for the Gulf of Mexico spill to drill in the Great Australian Bight is a disaster waiting to happen,” she said.

“This marine ecosystem and numerous local industries, including fisheries and eco-tourism operators, deserve to be protected.” 

She said the Bight was an essential sanctuary for southern right whales and a feeding ground for threatened sea lions, sharks, tuna and migratory sperm whales.

“We can’t afford to put that all at risk,” she said.

NOPSEMA will be due to rule on BP’s latest application in just a week’s time. 

While she was glad to see a delay, Ms Hanson-Young hoped the future would bring a finalised rejection of the application.

“What’s needed now is a final rejection of BP’s disastrous plan,” South Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“NOPSEMA should read the writing on the wall and listen to the local community that is clearly saying that BP are not welcome here.”

The Parliament has to step in and make sure that this national treasure is protected for generations to come - Sarah Hanson-Young

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