Norwegian oil giant Equinor has been given approval by the regulating body NOPSEMA to drill in the Great Australian Bight, in direct opposition to public opinion, The Australia Institute has said.
More than four in five South Australians (84%) want to see the Great Australian Bight given World Heritage Protection and a majority of all Australians (60%) oppose allowing companies to drill for oil in the Bight.
“If this drilling goes ahead, it will be done in direct opposition to the wishes of the Australian and South Australian people,” said Noah Schultz-Byard, The Australia Institute’s SA Director.
“A foreign oil company is coming to Australia to make money, but it is the local environment and coastal communities that will have to carry all of the risk in this project.
“According to their own sustainability report, Equinor had 239 oil spills in 2018 alone, but we have just one Great Australian Bight.
“A major oil spill could put tens of thousands of Australian jobs in coastal tourism, aquaculture and fisheries at risk.
“The economic gains to the State and Federal Governments are negligible and, even then, will take decades to be realised.
“Australia should not be opening up a new fossil fuel frontier as the east coast of the country burns and the south suffers through yet another record breaking heatwave.”