‘Please Bill Shorten we have to protect Australia’s Southern Reef’
February 25, 2019: Activists have taken a message to senior Labor MPs, including opposition leader Bill Shorten, in Sydney and Melbourne asking them to protect the Great Australian Bight from oil drilling.
Environmentalists staged simultaneous actions at the offices of Tony Burke, Tanya Plibersek, and Bill Shorten implying that the current government is putting the Bight ‘up for sale’ to the highest bidder. They demanded that Labor guarantee permanent protection for the area should they win the upcoming federal election.
“The Great Australian Bight is one of Australia’s most unsung treasures. It is a unique and biodiverse area supporting countless species of life and thriving coastal communities. Labor have an opportunity to show leadership to protect this area from devastating oil drilling,” Greenpeace volunteer Krysta McMah said.
“Bill Shorten, Tony Burke, and Tanya Plibersek have an opportunity to show leadership to protect this area. We are at their electoral offices to hand them a petition and to let them know we don’t want one of Australia’s national treasures to be pillaged by fossil fuel companies.”
McMah said the unique marine species and communities of the Bight are currently being threatened by experimental oil drilling with Norwegian multinational Equinor leading the charge to exploit the pristine ecosystem.
“In addition to a spill potentially reaching as far as Western Australia on one coast and Bondi Beach to the east, any spill would be devastating for the many endemic marine species in the area such as rare whales, sea lions, seals, and dolphins,” McMah said.
“The Bight houses more endemic species than the Great Barrier Reef with 85 percent of marine life found nowhere else on earth.
“This life includes endangered species such as the southern right which use the Bight as a nursery for their young as well as blue whales.
“It is unacceptable that our government allows drilling into more dangerous and unpredictable area as the rest of the world turns their back on oil and transitions away from fossil fuels”
“Labor must promise to protect the Bight from all future oil drilling. The people of Australia have had enough.”
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