Greenpeace welcomes Labor’s statements on Bight protection

December 16, 2018: Greenpeace today welcomed the caution of Federal Labor leader, Bill Shorten, regarding drilling in the Great Australian Bight.

Speaking at the ALP National Conference, Mr Shorten said, “if I am prime minister, I am not going to support any degradation or harm to the environment, no matter what some of the big oil companies argue. I think we have an obligation to hand on not just a better economy to the next generation but a better environment”.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific campaigner Holly Dawson, speaking from the conference, said: “the fact that we are even talking about drilling for oil in an important area for whale calving – in a declared whale sanctuary no less – shows how crazy this debate has become.

“The Great Australian Bight has more unique species in it than the Great Barrier Reef. It is rich with life – whales and dolphins, fisheries that sustain thousands of jobs, incredibly beautiful marine ecosystems.

“The risk of Equinor’s drilling project to the Bight are real. Recent leaks from Equinor itself show the boggling extent of the damage that might flow from an oil spill. The coasts of South Australia could be coated in oil but so too could the Twelve Apostles in Victoria, the coastlines of the Tasmanian World Heritage area, and Equinor’s own modelling shows that an oil spill could spread as far as Bondi Beach.

“The Bight proposal is not for business as usual oil drilling – it is to drill in extraordinarily deep water in wild, virgin ocean. There’s no way to ensure a spill won’t happen in these extreme, unusual circumstances.

“We agree with Mr Shorten – we must fight back against degradation and harm to the environment. Drilling in the Bight is just too risky. Too much is at stake. The Australian Labor Party must now take the next step and ensure permanent protection for the Great Australian Bight.”

Greenpeace also welcomed Tony Burke’s statement in comments to the conference that Labor will “restore and save the marine parks in full”.

“The marine park network is precisely the type of conservation protection we need if we are to ensure appropriate protections for the Bight”, said Dawson.

For interviews contact:

Simon Black

Greenpeace Australia Pacific Senior Media Campaigner

0418 219 086 / [email protected]