Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown says the oil spill catastrophe now threatening the coastline of several US states highlights both the vulnerability of the Australian marine environment to oil spills and the serious incapacity of the industry to control such events.
"A spill like that now unfolding in the US would decimate the Great Barrier Reef or Western Australia's World Heritage Ningaloo Reef for example," said Senator Brown.
"Australia urgently needs tougher regulation including a requirement for all corporations to show an immediate ability to cap such spills with the equipment required on hand and ready to be used.
Senator Brown said he intended to pursue an independent inquiry into the grounding of the oil tanker Shen Neng 1 on the Great Barrier Reef.
"The fact of the matter is the state and federal governments have simply not insisted on precautions that would guarantee the Reef's safety."
Senator Brown has just returned from the meeting of Asia and Pacific Greens parties in Taiwan.