THE NSW Parliament has on Tuesday passed a motion calling on the Federal Government to suspend Asset Energy’s permit to conduct seismic testing off the coast of Newcastle.
Last month, in response to a question on notice from Greens MP Justin Field, Resources and Energy Minister Don Harwin expressed a lack of confidence in Australia’s current offshore mining regulations.
The house has called on “the Federal Government to suspend further consideration of applications for PEP11 [the permit issued to Asset Energy] until such time as the regulations for offshore petroleum exploration and production have been reviewed in light of the concerns expressed by the Minister for Resources”.
In April, Asset Energy conducted seismic exploration for oil and gas about 30km off the Newcastle coast.
Mr Field said the Federal Government should acknowledge the NSW Government’s concern with inadequate offshore petroleum regulations and suspend Asset Energy’s PEP11 licence for offshore oil and gas exploration and production.
“Seismic testing off the coast of Newcastle caught the community by surprise but they’re now united in demanding no oil or gas fields off the NSW coast,” Mr Field said.
“Imagine sitting on the iconic Nobbys Beach and looking beyond the waves at oil rigs, or the massive risk of a spill off Sydney’s Northern Beaches. The community simply won’t accept it.
“The New Zealand government recently announced a ban on new oil and gas exploration in its waters. The Federal Government should follow its example and do the same here.
“Our oceans are special places for people’s enjoyment, a source of sustainable seafood and a precious home for whales and other marine life. The Federal Government must not give in to the vested interests of the fossil fuel industry pushing or oil and gas development off our coast at any cost,” Mr Field said.