New research from The Australia Institute has shown that more than 27,000 jobs in South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania would be put at risk if drilling for oil in the Great Australian Bight is allowed to go ahead and a catastrophic spill occurs.
New polling has also revealed that a majority of Australians, while hopeful of jobs being created by the project, expect drilling in the Bight would negatively impact the natural environment (65%), tourism (50%) and fishing (60%).
“This report shows that the economic and environmental cost of a major oil spill in the Great Australian Bight would be enormous,” said Noah Schultz-Byard, The Australia Institute’s SA Projects Manager.
“Coastal tourism, fisheries and aquaculture are significant employers in South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania – the state’s that are most likely to suffer the effects of a spill.
“Equinor have already had 239 oil spills in their history and, according to their own modelling, a major incident in the Bight would cover thousands of kilometres of the Australian coastline.
“With more than 27,000 jobs to be put at risk by drilling in the Bight, it’s not hard to understand why three in five Australians are opposed to the idea.
“This new research has also revealed that a majority of Australians expect drilling in the Bight to have a negative effect on the environment, tourism and fishing.
“While many are hopeful that the project would bring jobs, drilling in the Bight would actually create a relatively small number of employment opportunities, significantly fewer than the tens of thousands of already existing jobs that it would put at risk.
“Communities along the southern coast of Australia are being asked to shoulder extraordinary risk in relation to this project while a foreign oil company hopes to swoop in and take all of the financial gain.
“Any attempts to proceed with drilling in the Bight will risk tens of thousands of jobs and will be done in direct opposition to the wishes of the traditional custodians of the land and the broader Australian public.”
The full report is available for download here