New research from The Australia Institute shows that 60% of Australians are opposed to drilling for oil in the Great Australian Bight, while the rate of opposition amongst South Australians is even higher at 68%.
The first ever national poll on the issue found that only one in five Australians, and 16% of South Australians, support drilling in the Bight, while more than two thirds of Australians want to see the area given World Heritage protection.
The poll also found there is greater support, both nationwide and in SA, for ending coal, gas and oil exploration across Australia than there is for allowing it to continue.
“The Great Australian Bight is a national treasure and now we know that people across the country want to see it protected from exploitation,” said Noah Schultz-Byard, The Australia Institute’s SA projects manager.
“Equinor and the other oil giants looking to drill in the Great Australian Bight are attempting to do so in direct opposition to the wishes of the Australian people.
“We’ve known for some time that the Great Australian Bight holds a special place in the hearts of South Australians, but this research has shown that opposition to exploiting the Bight exists across the country.
“A serious oil spill in the Bight would be an environmental and economic disaster, devastating the pristine marine ecosystem and threatening more than 9,000 jobs in South Australia alone.
“Opening up the Bight and then burning billions of barrels of oil would be an extremely reckless thing to do as we’re already facing the increasing effects of global warming.
“With opposition to the continued exploration for coal, oil and gas being greater than the support, it’s clear that Australians want our reliance on fossil fuels to end.
“It’s time for all levels of government to listen to the people and protect the Great Australian Bight once and for all.”
A polling brief, including detailed results, is available here