Drilling in the Great Australian Bight
The Great Australian Bight brings significant economic, social and environmental benefits to South Australia. We risk losing those benefits if seismic testing and oil drilling applications are not subject to sufficient oversight.
The Bight is one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. The pristine waters of the Bight provide an essential breeding ground for vulnerable species, such as the Southern Right Whale, and an ideal habitat for the endangered Sea Lion. Research suggests that there are at least 1,200 species of plants and animals in the region, around 85% of which are probably endemic to the region.
Proposals for petroleum exploration and drilling in the Great Australian Bight put at risk thousands of South Australian jobs in fishing and tourism. The Bight’s fishing and tourism industries provide sustainable and long-term economic benefits to South Australia, delivering thousands of jobs and billions of dollars every year. Tourism alone provides 10,000 jobs based in the Bight region, and the fishing industry is estimated to be worth around $400 million annually.
Current governance of petroleum exploration and drilling activity in the Bight takes insufficient criteria into account and does not give the Bight the respect it deserves. That is why I introduced my Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Great Australian Bight) Bill 2018 into Parliament late in 2018. The bill would ensure a more rigorous assessment process for drilling proposals by returning ultimate approval power to the Environment Minister.
Increasing transparency and accountability in the assessment process will ensure environmental, social, economic and safety considerations are more fairly balanced, and provide for greater protection of this important ecosystem.
Actions So Far
Speaking in the Senate
- Storer gets tough on Bight drilling
- Senator Storer hears Port Lincoln oil concerns
- Independent Senator Tim Storer visits Kangaroo Island
- ABC Eyre Peninsula - Drilling in the Great Australian Bight
- Leaked oil spill document “alarming”: South Australian MPs