The Greens have warned that the decision by the federal offshore gas regulator to approve seismic testing in the Great Australian Bight should serve as a warning to the Newcastle and Central Coast communities that they need to ramp up the campaign against seismic testing locally, or risk federal approval that could damage local marine life and fisheries resources.
Yesterday the federal offshore gas exploration and drilling regulator NOPSEMA approved seismic testing by gas company PGS to conduct seismic test around Kangaroo Island and Port Lincoln in South Australia.
Greens marine and fisheries spokesperson Justin Field said, “This decision flies in the face of significant community concern and a risk to valuable fisheries in South Australia and needs to serve as a warning to the Newcastle and Central Coast communities.
“It is clear from this approval that the federal regulator is acting as a facilitator for the gas industry while the environment, community and economic concerns from other industries are pushed to the back.
“With the NSW Government going quiet on the issue, the only way to stop more seismic testing and future gas drilling of the NSW coastline is to ramp up the community campaign against offshore gas.
“The community will never accept a gasfield off the coast of Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, the Central Coast and the Northern Beaches. We can’t allow our coast to be opened up to gas drilling and seismic testing that pose an unacceptable risk for ocean habitat, marine wildlife including migrating whales, and productive local fishing grounds,” Mr Field said.
MEC resources, the holder of the PEP11 exploration licence that runs in Commonwealth Waters between Stockton and Sydney’s Northern Beaches reported to the sharemarket in December that they planned to seek a new approval from NOPSEMA to conduct more seismic testing in the next few months.