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Tests show oil leak reached Indonesia

David Weber reported this story on Thursday, February 25, 2010 12:43:00

ELEANOR HALL: The oil leak from a well head platform in the Timor Sea late last year does appear to
have spread into Indonesian waters.

Testing of a sample from the well confirms that during the 10 weeks that it flowed crude oil did
spread beyond Australian waters.

David Weber reports.

DAVID WEBER: Indonesian villagers claimed last year that oil from the Montara Well Head affected
their health and killed their fish.

Australian authorities said it was unlikely that any oil had gone into the economic zone.

Analysis by Leeder Consulting shows a sample collected off West Timor is similar to Montara crude.

The WA Greens Senator Rachel Siewert:

RACHEL SIEWERT: What it tells us is that it is much more likely that oil from the Montara well did
impact on Indonesian fishing grounds and has had an impact on Indonesian fishers' livelihoods.

And the Government should have been taking this more seriously from the start. And they need to now
investigate this issue very thoroughly and look at reparations to Indonesian fishers.

DAVID WEBER: Who collected the samples and who organised the testing?

RACHEL SIEWERT: Indonesian fishers collected the samples and then West Timor Care Foundation mailed
them to me.

I then have sent them on to the inquiry for them to test. And they've got back to us and said that
two of the oil samples that we sent were in fact from the Montara Well.

DAVID WEBER: Do you know if the Australian Government or any of the Australian Government agencies
had collected water for testing?

RACHEL SIEWERT: Well that is what I would very much like to know. They should have done. We were
calling on them to do so at the time because this issue we thought was very serious. But I'm
unaware of whether the Government has taken and tested samples from around that location.

They did some testing of other samples closer to the well which a lot of people have been very
critical about because there wasn't a systematic approach. They were opportunistic. There wasn't a
plan, a proper plan for that sampling.

DAVID WEBER: Senator Siewert says the Montara Commission of Inquiry should look into the impact of
the spill on Indonesian communities.

She says if the terms of reference don't allow it the Australian Government should consider paying
compensation.

RACHEL SIEWERT: This is now a number of months down the track. You're talking about people who have
very small incomes and they rely on these fish as part of their daily existence. And they would
have been suffering the impacts at the time and still suffering those impacts. And so the
Government needs to deal with this in a speedy manner.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Greens Senator Rachel Siewert speaking to David Weber.