Statement on NOPSEMA decision to accept Equinor's Environmental Plan

19 December 2019

Centre Alliance is disappointed by the decision of the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) to accept Equinor's environmental plan to drill an exploration well off the South Australian coast.

“It is clear from public surveys done in South Australia and the majority of the 30,000 submissions sent to NOPSEMA during the environmental approval process that most South Australians will be disappointed with this decision," said Rebekha Sharkie, the Centre Alliance Federal Member for Mayo.

“We believe the risk of any spill is too high a price for our pristine marine environment and the industries that rely on that environment.

“We cannot understand why the environmental plan was approved when drilling will be conducted at such a depth and in such a remote location. Both factors that will heighten the risk of a major oil spill in an area with unique and diverse marine biodiversity. An area world renown as a whale nursery.

“People must understand there is no real economic benefit to Australians in allowing drilling in the Bight.

"In the last five years Exxon Mobil Australia earned $42 billion in revenue and paid no tax, Chevron earned $15.5 billion and also paid no tax.

"A nurse at the Mount Barker Hospital will have paid more tax in one year than these oil companies have in five."

Centre Alliance Environmental spokesperson, Senator Rex Patrick, said the argument that this approval would assist Australia's fuel security was also a furphy.

"All that South Australians will get from this project is risk; risk to the pristine environment, risk to marine life, risk to our fishing industry and risk to tourism. It makes no sense.

“This is the second of four approvals needed so we will now investigate the most appropriate way forward to ensure the voices of Australians opposed to this project are heard and acted upon.”

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