A question on notice from NSW Greens MP Justin Field in State Parliament yesterday led Resources and Energy Minister Don Harwin to reveal the NSW Government is opposed to seismic testing recently approved for waters off the coast from Sydney to Newcastle.
The Minister also expressed a lack of confidence in Australia’s current offshore mining regulations.
The Federal regulator recently gave the green light for Asset Energy to begin seismic exploration for oil and gas off Newcastle and the Central Coast. Seismic testing creates sonic underwater blasts that have been shown to impact on whales, other marine life and their habitat.
Mr Harwin told parliament the NSW Government wrote to Federal Minister for Resources Matthew opposing the extension of Asset Energy’s permit for for seismic testing in NSW waters in June 2017. He said concerns were raised that the assessment and performance requirements for offshore oil and gas exploration were not as rigorous as those required for onshore exploration and extraction in NSW.
Mr Field said the NSW Government’s admission of deficiencies in offshore petroleum regulations should raise alarm bells given the recent approval.
“Seismic testing poses an unacceptable risk for the health of the ocean, marine wildlife including migrating whales, and productive fisheries resources,” he said.
“The NSW Government’s admission shows that the already weak conditions on the testing are likely to be poorly monitored or enforced. It’s totally unacceptable.
“I’m calling on the NSW Government to join with the community and campaign to oppose this project. There is no place for oil and gas development along the NSW coast.
“The Federal Government has been captured by the vested interests of the fossil fuel industry and seem willing to push for oil and gas development off our coast at any cost.
“The NSW Government should make it clear they and the community want the the Federal Government’s cancellation of Advent Energy’s exploration licence and a halt on seismic testing in our waters,” Mr Field said.
Hansard record of Question on Notice and the Minister’s response here: https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/Hansard/Pages/HansardResult.aspx#/docid/HANSARD-1820781676-75435/link/2223