Adelaide, Australia and Stavanger, Norway, May 15, 2018: South Australian community representatives including Kokatha elder Sue Haseldine, lobster fisherman Kyri Toumazos, and local surfers have today told Norwegian oil major Statoil its oil rigs are not welcome in the Great Australian Bight.


Standing outside the annual Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) conference on black carpet representing the dangers of an oil spill, the community leaders launched an open letter to Statoil which will be read out later today by Kangaroo Island Mayor Peter Clements as Statoil’s annual general meeting opens in Stavanger, Norway.

“We write on behalf of people around the world that are fighting to protect their Country, livelihoods, and water from dangerous oil drilling and climate change,” the open letter, which is written by Kokatha nation elder Sue Haseldine, reads.

“Consent to drill the Bight has been neither sought, nor given. Together, we ask that Statoil abandon their plans to pursue risky deepwater oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight, and around the globe. Statoil must respect the Indigenous custodians of the land and sea from who you wish to extract oil and gas.”

“We call on Statoil to instead invest in our country in clean and renewable energy.”

“More than half a dozen councils in Australia have voted to oppose oil drilling,” Kangaroo Island Mayor, Peter Clements, said. “Their opposition is just the beginning – hundreds of thousands of people will not rest until the threat of oil drilling in the Bight has been seen off once and for all.”

“The Bight region is responsible for more than 25 percent of Australia’s seafood catch and has supported, and will continue to support, jobs in the community for generations. But our industry is under grave threat from oil drilling,” Adelaide fisherman Kyri Toumazos said.

“Modelling previously done by oil companies shows that a major spill would be catastrophic for communities and could impact anywhere along the southern Australian coast from Perth in WA to Eden on the NSW south coast.”

Wilderness Society South Australia Director Peter Owen said: “The Great Australian Bight is a natural marvel that should never be threatened by the highly risky business of ultra-deepsea oil drilling, as we saw in the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

“The Bight is a haven for 36 species of whales and dolphins, including the world’s most important nursery for the endangered southern right whale. The Bight is Australia’s most important sea lion nursery and supports seals, orcas, giant cuttlefish, great white sharks and some of Australia’s most important fisheries. The community opposition will continue only to grow.”

Greenpeace Australia Pacific Senior Campaigner, Nathaniel Pelle said: “There is no safe way to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight. The industries, like fishing and tourism, that rely on the Bight’s pristine nature have made it clear they don’t want it put at risk.  Coastal towns from Elliston to Victor Harbor and Kangaroo Island do not want accident-prone Norwegian oil giant Statoil to put their communities in harm’s way.”

“Statoil must listen. Ultra-deepsea oil in the Bight is a terrible idea, and coastal communities will continue to fight until they have turned back this latest threat.”


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For interviews contact:

Simon Black

Senior Comms, Greenpeace Australia Pacific

0418 219 086 / [email protected]

Alex Tibbitts

Media Adviser, The Wilderness Society

0416 420 168 / [email protected]