Australian Greens Marine Spokesperson, Senator Rachel Siewert, has today reiterated calls for the immediate release of a Commission of Inquiry report into the 2009 Montara oil spill in the Timor Sea.
“It is unacceptable that 12 months after the spill was contained, we still haven’t seen the report, there has been no action taken against those responsible for the spill and no tightening of the regulation of our oil and gas industry,” Senator Siewert said today.
“The report itself was handed to the Government way back in June, and the time is right for it to finally be released.
“We know from the evidence presented to the Montara Commission that there is a pressing need for change to oil and gas regulation in this country.
“We believe that we urgently need to improve regulation. The experts have outlined what needs to be done and it's high time the Government announced how they intend to better protect our oceans, coasts, and our oil and gas workforce.
“We understand that the Government needed some time to consider the report, but it is also essential for Australians to have access to it, so we can have an informed debate and strong public policy process to improve oil and gas regulation.
“We recognise the oil and gas industry is very important to this country, but we also appreciate that if poorly managed, it has the potential to impact negatively on people and the environment.
“The Montara spill is one obvious example of how things can go wrong, and the Gulf of Mexico spill was significantly worse. Such an accident near Australia’s coast would have a catastrophic effect on our environment, coastal residents and numerous important industries.
“The level of oil and gas exploration and production around Australia is increasing, with new exploration leases being granted - including one in the Mentelle Basin, just 83km off the Margaret River coast.
“We will be playing close attention to the Montara report and the Government's response to ensure there is a vision there to bring about the changes that provide stronger protection for people and the environment, along with better regulatory security for the industry itself,” concluded Senator Siewert.