BP Bight Backdown a Win for SA

17 Jul 2020

BP’s decision to abandon exploration drilling in the Great Australian Bight is a victory for South Australia and the communities across the Fleurieu Coast, says SA Senator Nick Xenophon and Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie.

Senator Nick Xenophon, who co-sponsored a Senate inquiry into the issue in the previous and current Federal Parliament said: “The catastrophic consequences of a spill, even if there was a low risk of it happening, would have far outweighed any economic benefit flowing from the drilling. And in any event, it didn’t make much economic sense, in the first place.”

“The extent of the damage to South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania would have been pretty much irreversible."

Ms Sharkie, the MP for the Fleurieu region, said the "pristine" marine park in the Bight was no place for drilling oil.

“This is a win for common sense and an enormous relief for the communities and businesses that live near and derive their income from the Bight," she said.

Ms Sharkie said the risk to the environment and the image of SA’s marine areas far outweighed any short-term economic gain from exploration activities.

"Far from being an economic blow to South Australia, SA has dodged a bullet," she said.

“South Australia is striving towards an $8 billion turnover in tourism and much of that focuses on the attractions in my electorate which includes the Fleurieu Coast and Kangaroo Island.

“Just one oil spill would put every tourism-related business along the coast under threat.

“That’s what happened in the Gulf of Mexico when BP drilled in relatively shallow water in an environment that was not nearly as isolated as the Bight.

“Even the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (Nopsema) rejected BP’s environment plan as being inadequate - for a third time.”

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