Greens announce plan to prohibit offshore gas development in NSW

The NSW Greens will move to prohibit offshore gas exploration off the NSW coast in a new Parliament. Citing an unacceptable risk to marine life and coastal communities from plans to conduct seismic testing and drill for gas between Sydney’s Northern Beaches and Newcastle.

NSW Greens MP and Healthy Oceans Spokesperson Justin Field will launch the policy today in Newcastle coinciding with a community protest at a Federal Government staged information session about the plans.

Mr Field said, “The community will never accept a gas field off the coast between Sydney and Newcastle. It’s an unacceptable risk to local marine life and coastal communities and the Greens will take whatever steps needed in the next Parliament to ensure this project never proceeds.

“There is a climate imperative to phase out fossil fuels. Allowing new developments while we are facing unprecedented heat waves, droughts, fires and floods in Australia is reprehensible and should not be supported by any credible political party,” Mr Field said.

Greens candidate for Newcastle Charlotte McCabe said, “We can’t allow our coast to be opened up to gas drilling and seismic testing, it poses an unacceptable risk to ocean habitat, marine wildlife including migrating whales, and productive local fishing grounds.

“There has been no credible action by the Coalition Government and the Labor party to protect our community from offshore gas testing despite clear evidence of the risks to local sustainable industries, marine life and our coastal environment.   

“I’ve been heartened to see the strong community opposition to this proposal. The Greens will always stand up for communities and the environment and we will take what action we can to support the community and oppose this damaging proposal, “ Ms McCabe said.

The Greens plan includes a commitment to oppose all applications for offshore gas exploration and drilling and to take legislative action in the next state Parliament to:

  • Prohibit the processing and transport of gas produced from wells offshore from the NSW coastline to the NSW mainland.
  • Prohibit the construction of infrastructure relating to offshore exploration and mining activities in NSW

“The major parties in NSW say the right thing when it comes to this crazy proposal but are hiding behind their federal counterparts who are pushing the proposal,” Mr Field said.

“My message to Labor and the Coalition in NSW is that if you are serious in your opposition, support the Greens’ plan to prohibit any related infrastructure being built on NSW controlled land. That will send a clear message to the industry that this project is unviable.

The Greens plan also includes a push in the federal parliament for an inquiry into the operations of NOPSEMA, its inadequate community consultation processes and lack of oversight of offshore exploration and drilling activities.

“What we have seen is that NOPSEMA as the federal regulator is acting like a facilitator of the gas industry rather than a regulator protecting communities and the environment. It is disappointing that Labor opposed a Greens move in the Senate to set up an inquiry into NOPSEMA last year. We’ll be testing them again in the next parliament,” Mr Field said.

The NSW Greens policy initiative can be seen here.

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