Oil company wastes no time in using Hunt's new rules to side step public opposition
Bight Petroleum, a Canadian company with plans to undertake oil and gas exploration in a critical whale habitat off Kangaroo Island, SA moved quickly to withdraw its highly contested EPBC application for the project only days before a Ministerial decision was due.
As of today proposals of this kind no longer require Ministerial approval and are not subject to public scrutiny and comment.
The new system, where offshore oil and gas regulator, NOPSEMA, is now solely responsible for decisions, does not require mandatory public consultation for oil exploration activities.
'This is an immediate indication of the impact of the government's new 'one stop shop' approach on whale conservation and community consultation' said Isabel McCrea.'
Only hours after the new system came into force we see a company able to shelter from the force of community opposition.
"Only yesterday IFAW released a poll showing that 85% of Australians want no oil and gas exploration in whale habitats and 75% of South Australians want Kangaroo Island waters protected from oil exploration but those voices now have no way of being heard in the new system. Neither do those of the 5934 people who have expressed their concerns about Bight's plans since Greg Hunt took office."
The decision facing the regulator, NOPSEMA, on this proposal is now a key test of whether the government's new system is capable of protecting whales and their habitats in Australian waters. NOPSEMA must reject this proposal as it poses significant and insurmountable risks to whales.
Notes to Editors –
- For more information or interviews please contact Rebekka Thompson-Jones at IFAW on 02 9288 4973, mobile 0401 090 034 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Survey results are available upon request.
About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.