The Greens have used the first sitting day for the NSW Legislative Council to call on the NSW Government to oppose oil and gas development off the state’s coast.
The Federal regulator recently gave the green light for Asset Energy to begin seismic exploration for oil and gas off the Central Coast. Greens MLC and Marine spokesperson, Mr Justin Field, introduced the motion to the Legislative Council calling on the NSW Government to oppose offshore oil and gas development. Mr Field said: “The idea that coastal waters off Newcastle and the Central Coast can safely be a future gas field is ridiculous. “The precious coastal waters are no place for an oil and gas field, and even the exploration process is fraught with danger for migrating whales, local fisheries and the environment,” he said. “The seismic testing will take place in an area recognised as habitat for 22 threatened species, including whales, turtles and migratory birds, and has the potential to injure fish up to one kilometre from the air blasts.
“The NSW Government should step in and revoke this licence. “It’s not worth risking the health of the marine environment, our valuable fisheries resources and good local jobs for oil and gas exploration, where the community will never accept a future gas field. “Concerned community members will gather in Newcastle on February 28, for a screening of the Sonic Sea documentary, followed by a discussion of the next steps in the campaign against an offshore gas field off the local coast. Mr Field’s notice of motion stated that: “Last month, the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority approved Asset Energy’s plan to begin seismic exploration for oil and gas deposits off Newcastle and the Central Coast.”
He called for the Legislative Council to note that “seismic exploration creates sonic underwater blasts that have been shown to impact on whale migration patterns, marine species and their habitat, “The testing to be carried out by Asset Energy is in a highly prolific and valuable area to recreational, charter and commercial fishing industries. “Previous studies, including a recent study by the Fisheries Research Development Corporation, have shown that seismic surveys damage marine life.
“The impacts on the recreational and commercial fishing industries that operate off Newcastle and the Central Coast have not been adequately assessed, “Regardless of the finding of exploration activities, the Newcastle, Central Coast and Sydney Communities will not accept offshore oil and gas development. “This House calls on the Government to oppose oil and gas development off the New South Wales coast, and to work, in consultation with the commercial fishing industry and Asset Energy, to conduct research into the impact the approved seismic testing off the coast of Newcastle and the Central Coast will have on the marine environment and commercial fishing.”
Source: Media release, Feb 14 Jane Garcia, office of Justin Field