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Monday, 19 October 2015
Page: 11544

Mr ZAPPIA (Makin) (13:39): Last week I attended a briefing provided by the Wilderness Society about BP's plans to carry out oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight in 2016. The Great Australian Bight is described as one of the most pristine ocean environments on earth. Eighty-five per cent of the species that live in the bight are found nowhere else on earth. Its economic and environmental value is significant, with fisheries and aquaculture industries worth around $440 million in 2012-13 and regional tourism worth around $1.2 billion in 2013-14 and directly and indirectly supporting around 10,000 jobs. Being located on the coast of South Australia, the Great Australian Bight is a major economic driver for the state. It also has significant Indigenous community interest in it. Oil drilling inevitably brings with it serious risks. Modelling commissioned by the Wilderness Society shows that an oil spill in the bight could devastate marine life, fisheries and coastal South Australian communities. If a well blow-out occurs, critical response infrastructure may need to come from Singapore or Houston, Texas, adding considerable delay to the response time. I call on the federal government to work closely with the South Australian government and commit to an open and transparent process, to consult with all interested parties and communities and to ensure that the Great Australian Bight's environmental and economic values are not placed at risk through any oil and gas drilling activities.