Virtual town hall meeting to support new Stopping PEP11 Bill

Surfing and ocean charities will present a virtual town hall meeting on the Central Coast on August 19 in support of a new Stopping PEP11 Bill being proposed by Independent Federal MP Zali Steggall.

The bill is designed to put a permanent stop to Petroleum Exploration Permit 11, known as PEP11, which is a 4,500 square kilometre offshore oil and gas exploration permit extending from Manly Beach, up through the Central Coast to Newcastle.

The permit came up for renewal in February this year, with no decision yet having been made on the proposed renewal.

Surfrider Foundation Australia, Save Our Coast, Surfers for Climate and Living Ocean Australia have all announced support for the bill, with Zoom meetings also to be held on the Northern Beaches and Eastern Suburbs to give coastal citizens more information about the proposed offshore oil and gas project.

The meetings will outline the economic and environmental threats posed by PEP11, and what can be done to stop it.

High profile speakers at the Central Coast meeting will include Central Coast pro surfer, Ace Buchan, Federal Member for Dobell, Emma McBride, Energy Finance Analyst, Bruce Robertson, and Surfrider Foundation National Campaign Director, Damien Cole.

It will be emceed by science communicator, model and star of reality TV show Survivor, Laura Wells.

“Surfing and ocean community groups have been fighting PEP11 for years,” Cole said.

“It’s truly baffling that the threat is still there when politicians from all sides of politics have come out in opposition to PEP11.

“Almost every single politician who has commented on this project has opposed it, yet for some reason this absurd proposal is still alive.

“So, with the announcement of the Stopping PEP11 Bill, now is the perfect time for everyone in our coastal communities to come together, get informed, and get active to make sure we stop this potentially disastrous project once and for all.”

Save Our Coast founder, Dr Natasha Deen, said to “drill for fossil fuels with complete disregard for climate, the delicate marine ecosystem, precious marine animals and communities’ wellbeing is simply unconscionable”.

“We ask MPs to support the Bill to end this flawed and risky project and cancel PEP11 once and for all,” Dean said.

The Central Coast virtual meeting will be held at 11am on Thursday August 19.

You can register your attendance at https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/stop-pep-11-central-coast-virtual-town-hall-tickets-164455329317.

Terry Collins