Senator urges Great Australian Bight oil and gas exploration to stop
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Senator urges Great Australian Bight oil and gas exploration to stop

11 May 2017

South Australian senator Nick Xenophon has recommended that oil and gas exploration should not proceed in the Great Australian Bight due to safety concerns.

South Australian senator Nick Xenophon has recommended that oil and gas exploration should not proceed in the Great Australian Bight due to safety concerns.

Xenophon stated his recommendations in the Australian Senate inquiry’s report.

Xenophon said in the report: “Drilling in the Great Australian Bight should not proceed as it fails to meet the burden of proof required by the precautionary principle.”

Earlier, BP applied to conduct drilling in the Bight but the application was rejected citing ‘negligible’ job opportunities in the exploration stage and the failed bid produced no jobs.

A potential oil spill in the area can threaten South Australia's A$442m ($325m) fishing industry and tourism industry in coastal regions that values more than A$1bn ($736m). 

"Both the Liberal and Labour parties seem more concerned about the interests of the oil and gas industry rather than the communities they are elected to represent."

These two industries employ more than 10,000 people. 

Wilderness Society South Australia director Peter Owen said: "Both the Greens and senator Nick Xenophon have recognised the huge risks involved in drilling for oil and gas in the pristine waters of the Great Australian Bight, have listened to the concerns of their communities and are willing to stand up for them.” 

"Both major parties, however, seem more interested in imaginary oil and gas industry jobs than the 10,000 real fishing and tourism jobs in South Australia’s coastal regions that would be threatened by an oil spill. 

"Both the Liberal and Labour parties seem more concerned about the interests of the oil and gas industry rather than the communities they are elected to represent, or the potentially devastating impacts of an oil spill."

The Great Australian Bight waters are deeper than the Gulf of Mexico. The area is home to 36 species of whales and dolphins, alongside being an important sea lion nursery.