30 Mar 2017

APPEA welcomes the rejection by a Senate Committee of a Private Member’s Bill that sought to ban oil and gas activities in the Great Australian Bight.

The Environment and Communications Legislation Committee has recommended that the Senate not pass the Great Australian Bight Protection Bill 2016 introduced by the Greens.

APPEA Director South Australia Matthew Doman said it was pleasing that petroleum exploration in the Great Australian Bight continued to receive bipartisan support.

“The committee has made a sensible and responsible recommendation which should be accepted by the Senate,” Mr Doman said.

“As the committee notes, revocation of permits would lead to the loss of Australian jobs and the cancellation of contracts by companies that have already spent more than $200 million in exploration in the Bight since 2011,” Mr Doman said.

“The uncertainty created by such actions would severely damage Australia’s reputation as an investment destination for oil and gas.

“The committee is also right to back Australia’s independent regulator, the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Authority (NOPSEMA), which has been in operation since 2012.

“NOPSEMA does not allow petroleum activities to proceed without the highest standards of environment and safety management, and appropriate community consultation.

“One of NOPSEMA’s strength’s is its regulatory independence, something that would be severely compromised if the Greens’ bill was passed.

“With proper regulatory oversight, there is no reason a safe, sustainable offshore petroleum industry should not be possible for South Australia, as it has been in Victoria and WA for several decades.

“The economic benefits are potentially enormous.  While it is very early days, success in the Bight would attract investment to South Australia and see significant local job creation.” Download PDF

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