Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Democrats urge impact assessment on seismic testing: Federal environment laws can prevent oil drilling on the GBR.

Download PDFDownload PDF

About| Contact | Support Us | People | Policies | Parliament |Media|News| Campaigns | Members | Search


  Media Releases

Senator Andrew Bartlett Senator for Queensland Australian Democrats spokesperson for Environment

Press Release Dated: 24 Jan 2001 Press Release Number: 01/35 Portfolio: Environment 

Democrats urge impact assessment on seismic testing: Federal environment laws can prevent oil drilling on the GBR The Australian Democrats are urging the Environment Minister, Senator Robert Hill, to call for an environmental impact statement (EIS) on a proposal for seismic testing 50km outside the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

“This will set a precedent on resource exploration on the Great Barrier Reef,” said Queensland Senator and Democrats’ environment spokesperson, Andrew Bartlett.

“It is a crucial test of whether the Federal Government will be willing to use its powers to protect the environment and economies of areas such as north Queensland.”

Minister Hill, who is expected to make an announcement in the next few days, cannot refuse the project at this stage but he can take action to assess its environmental impact.

Senator Bartlett has written to Minister Hill urging him to declare the seismic testing as a controlled action under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and have an EIS conducted.

Senator Bartlett said the new laws, which were negotiated with the Democrats two years ago, offered more effective environmental protection.

“The new federal environment laws are powerful tools if Minister Hill chooses to use them. A few years ago the decision would have been made behind closed doors by the Minister for Industry, Science and Resources, with less consideration of the environmental impact,” said Senator Bartlett.

“With the evidence of an EIS and consideration of community views, the environment Minister can make an informed decision on the risk to this world heritage area and the species that inhabit it.

“Instead of having to wait until damage is already occurring in a world heritage area, the federal Minister will now be able to prevent a development or action if it is likely to have significant impact.

“Seismic testing has a potential impact on up to 60 protected marine species including endangered and vulnerable species such as blue whales and green turtles.

“If testing goes ahead and substantial petroleum deposits are found, industry will be falling over themselves to start drilling just outside the World Heritage Area,” he said.

“The Democrats will do whatever it takes to prevent drilling in the Great Barrier Reef area.”


Top | Email | Tell us what you think Authorised by: Jim Downey, 10 Brisbane Avenue, Barton ACT 2604. Copyright © 2001 Australian Democrats Last modified: Thu, 18 May 2000 13:51:26 Today: Thu, 25 Jan 2001 08:24:39