Newcastle seismic testing protests as Advent Energy project ramps up

PROTESTS greeted the start of seismic testing off Newcastle on Saturday.

The vessel conducting the work left the Port of Newcastle on Saturday afternoon as protests ramped up on Hannell Street. 

The survey work is expected to take three or four days at a location “predominantly 30 kilometres southeast of Newcastle”. 

The ship that will search for resources was fitted out for the job in Newcastle in recent days. The work is starting late after the vessel became stranded on its trip from Queensland to Newcastle due to Tropical Cyclone Iris.

Former Greens leader Bob Brown attended Saturday’s Carrington protest, speaking to the crowd of hundreds as the vessel conducting the survey departed.

“Here we have [federal Resources Minister Matt] Canavan agreeing to license that damage [to sea life] for corporate exploiters to search for oil and gas to accelerate global warming with its future catastrophic economic effects,” Mr Brown told the rally. 

An Advent Energy spokesman said the operations were on schedule “being undertaken in a very small area, and utilising a very small energy source”.

The project has revealed cracks between the state and federal governments, with NSW Resources Minister Don Harwin withholding his support for the project. In February he argued there were discrepancies between approvals on the two tiers. The Newcastle Herald reported on Saturday that Mr Canavan denied NSW was more stringent. Newcastle City Council opposes the testing.