NSW Parliament has called on the Federal Government to suspend the licence for Asset Energy’s proposed offshore petroleum activity in the waters from Newcastle to Sydney until concerns raised about lax commonwealth regulations have been addressed.
Full Motion passed in NSW Legislative Council on 15 May available here:
Last month, in response to a question on notice from NSW Greens MP Justin Field in State Parliament, Resources and Energy Minister Don Harwin expressed a lack of confidence in Australia’s current offshore mining regulations.
Asset Energy recently conducted seismic exploration for oil and gas off Newcastle coast. Seismic testing creates sonic underwater blasts that have been shown to impact on whales, other marine life and their habitat.
The company’s timeline of proposed activity includes conducting more invasive 3D seismic testing this year and plans for digging exploratory wells off the NSW coast in 2019.
Mr Field said the Federal Government should acknowledge the NSW Government’s concern with inadequate offshore petroleum regulations and suspend Asset Energy’s PEP11 licence for offshore oil and gas exploration and production.
“Seismic testing off the coast of Newcastle caught the community by surprise but they’re now united in demanding no oil or gas fields off the NSW coast,” he said.
“Imagine sitting on the iconic Nobby’s Beach and looking beyond the waves at oil rigs, or the massive risk of a spill off Sydney’s Northern Beaches. The community simply won’t accept it, despite industry trying to bully the government into approving these risky projects.
“The Greens welcome the NSW Parliament’s strong stand in support of a pause on Asset Energy’s licence but it doesn’t go far enough.
“The Greens ultimately want offshore petroleum activities banned. We need to keep fossil fuels in the group to mitigate the worst consequences of climate disruption.
“The New Zealand government recently announced a ban on new oil and gas exploration in its waters. The Federal Government should follow its example and do the same here.
“Our oceans are special places for people’s enjoyment, a source of sustainable seafood and a precious home for whales and other marine life. The Federal Government must not give in to the vested interests of the fossil fuel industry pushing or oil and gas development off our coast at any cost,” he said.