MP takes Bight fight to Norway's Parliament

MP takes Bight fight to Norway's Parliament

Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie has written to all 169 Members of the Norwegian Parliament to personally advise them of the "serious opposition" in her community to Equinor's proposal to drill for deep-sea oil in the Great Australian Bight.

"The Government of Norway is the majority shareholder of Equinor and in the past this company has stated they will not operate in our waters without social licence," Rebekha said.

"Despite all the polling and all the community protests, Equinor appears to be ignoring the overwhelming public sentiment across southern Australia.

"I also understand that the issue of drilling in the Bight has gained public attention in Norway because this nation is seriously questioning the long-term viability of investment in fossil fuels.

"The time is right to bring our deep community opposition to exploration and drilling in the Bight to the attention of Norway's political leaders."

To date 15 councils across South Australia and Victoria have resolved motions opposing drilling or raising serious concerns about drilling in the Bight.

In Mayo those councils included Victor Harbor, Kangaroo Island, Yankalilla, Alexandrina and Onkaparinga.

Independent polling undertaken by the Australian Institute in Mayo in June 2018 showed 73.9 per cent of respondents supported World Heritage Protection for the Bight, 12.5 per cent opposed protection and 13.6 per cent were unsure.

Polling for the electorate of Boothby in December 2018 showed even stronger support for protections for the Bight.

In her letter to Norwegian parliamentarians, Rebekha included maps of spill modelling said deep-sea drilling in the Bight posed a "real and significant threat" to the marine environment, the animals that lived in that environment and the livelihoods of Australian communities that relied on that environment.

"Norway's current reputation in Australia is as a progressive country with a strong record of thinking strategically and co-operatively about the future of the world in which we live," Rebekha wrote.

"In the absence of strong leadership from the two major political parties in Australia, I implore you and your Government, as Equinor's predominant shareholder, to direct the company to discontinue its risky pursuit of drilling for fossil fuels in the the Great Australian Bight. We have so much to lose."