The future of the Kangaroo Island community is again in the hands of Environment Minister Tony Burke as he decides on a second application for oil and gas exploration off the Island's coast, says Senator for South Australia, Senator Penny Wright.
Senator Wright said Minister Burke should listen to community calls to reject Bight Petroleum's resubmitted application outright for failing to address previously-raised concerns.
"Minister Burke has now received over 20,000 emails calling on him to reject this proposal and recognise Kangaroo Island is too precious to lose.
Bight Petroleum’s proposal was released yesterday, leaving the Kangaroo Island community concerned about oil and gas exploration in their backyard and with only a handful of days to act, says South Australian Senator Penny Wright.
The mining company yesterday submitted a new application to conduct seismic exploration off the west coast of Kangaroo Island, following the public release of a number of documents last week.
Seismic testing off the coast of Kangaroo Island would risk serious environmental and economic damage at any time of year, says South Australian Senator Penny Wright.
Oil and gas exploration company Bight Petroleum this morning announced intentions to withdraw and resubmit an application to conduct seismic testing near Kangaroo Island to alter the proposed timeframe.
"Seismic testing involves shooting extremely loud blasts of compressed air through the ocean every ten seconds, 24 hours a day, for weeks on end," Senator Wright said.
The Kangaroo Island community remains in limbo after mining company Bight Petroleum failed to publicly release documents relating to oil and gas exploration in nearby waters, says Senator for South Australia Penny Wright.
Last month Environment Minister Tony Burke declared the company's application a controlled action and ordered Bight Petroleum release all preliminary documentation to the public for scrutiny within 20 working days. This deadline has now passed.
The Australian Greens say closer review of Bight Petroleum’s plans to explore for oil off Kangaroo Island will make it clear the action poses an unacceptable risk to the environment and the Island’s future.
Environment Minister Tony Burke has declared seismic testing off the coast of Kangaroo Island a controlled action, meaning that the project will require appropriate assessment and approval from the Commonwealth Government.
Australian Greens Marine spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert says allowing oil and gas exploration off the coast of South Australia's Kangaroo Island would contradict other Government environmental programs and put endangered animals at risk.
Environment Minister Tony Burke is expected to announce his decision on a proposal to commence seismic testing at the Kangaroo Island Canyon and Pools this week. Bight Petroleum intends to undertake seismic tests in the coming months and start drilling in 2014.
(a) expresses deep concern about the upper Spencer Gulf population of the giant Australian cuttlefish (Sepia apama) which has catastrophically declined from a high of over 200 000 individuals in 1999 to less than 10 000 individuals in 2012; and
(b) calls on the Gillard Government to urgently reassess whether or not the upper Spencer Gulf population of this species is eligible for listing under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
This motion did not gain the support of the Senate.
The Federal Government has rejected calls to increase protection of the Giant Australian Cuttlefish in South Australia's Upper Spencer Gulf, voting against a motion introduced by South Australian Senator Penny Wright to reassess their environmental listing.
"Cuttlefish numbers at Point Lowly have plummeted from over 125,000 just three years ago to less than 10,000 today," Senator Wright said.
"The South Australian State Government has failed to take action on this catastrophic decline and further industrialisation is planned for the area.