The Australian Greens have condemned plans to explore for oil and gas at a depth of over 5km just 50km off WA's world-famous Ningaloo reef and are calling on the Federal Government to reject the proposal.
Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens Marine spokesperson says that despite the huge Montara and the Gulf of Mexico oil spills, oil and gas regulations in Australia remain unchanged as the Government continues to grant licences for drilling in important environmental areas.
“Not only are we yet to see the necessary changes made to our oil and gas regulatory process, we still don’t know what action to take if a deep water oil spill occurs.
“The US Commission of Inquiry into the BP disaster found that technology had raced ahead of the regulatory process and planning, the same applies here in Australia.
“If a spill where to occur in the deep water off Ningaloo Reef, nobody could be confident that it could be handled.
“We need to address the problems that led to the Montara and BP disasters before we allow more drilling in sensitive areas. It is crucial that our most precious natural resources are protected.
“Important marine areas around Margaret River, the Kimberley and the Bight Basin are already under threat from development and now Ningaloo is being added to that list.
“The area is under consideration as a World Heritage site. It is one of the most pristine coral reefs on the planet and is home to absolutely breathtaking natural beauty and important biodiversity.
“Ningaloo is one place which is too important to jeopardise with oil and gas exploration. All the regulations and precautions in the world will not offer the level of protection the area needs.
“The Federal Government should reject this application and the Greens will continue to pursue better oil and gas regulation." Senator Siewert concluded.