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Oil inquiry must provide all answers

Having welcomed the long-awaited plugging of the leaking Montara well yesterday, the Australian Greens are demanding that all details be investigated and made public.

“Martin Ferguson needs to announce today a independent public inquiry into all aspects of the oil spill – what caused the leak and the fire; its impacts on our environment and fisheries; what kind of regulatory prevention and resources need to be in place for the future; and how the Government handled this whole incident,” Greens spokesperson on Marine Issues Senator Rachel Siewert said.

“The Federal Resources Minister’s approach from day one appears to have been guided by a desire to protect the industry.

“The Government’s response has been lack lustre and the inquiry must review the way they handled this incident.

“The Greens have been asking for this inquiry for the past ten weeks. We are still waiting to see its terms of reference.

“Our concerns include:

  • The regulatory framework for this industry;
  • The adequacy of contingency planning for impacts on the environment and local fisheries; 
  • The lack of accountability and explanation when things have gone wrong;
  • How decisions were made about fixing the leak including the decision to tow a recovery rig from Singapore which added significantly to the timeframe;
  • The awarding of additional contracts to the company responsible while the spill was going on and in fact the situation was going from bad to worse; and
  • The Government’s response.

“We also remain concerned about impacts of this oil spill on Indonesia where reports on the ground in Timor and surrounding islands entirely contradict the Australian embassy in Jakarta’s claim that it is ‘no significant threat to the marine environment’ and that the oil is not in Indonesian waters,” Senator Siewert said.

For more information or media inquiries, please call Eloise Dortch on 0415 507 763

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