Peninsula residents need to act to make sure they don’t see oil and gas rigs off their beaches, says Empire Bay activist Mr Gregory Olsen.
“By the end of this year, Woy Woy Peninsula residents may be enjoying our wonderful beaches and maritime pursuits under the spectre of massive oil and gas rigs, just off the coast, courtesy of the Federal Government,’’ he said.
“However, before these rigs can be constructed, 3D seismic testing, in an 80 square kilometre section off our coast will occur, killing all marine life in that area as well as affecting dolphins and whales within a huge area beyond.
“This will start next month, in March 2019, if final approval is given.”
“Petroleum Exploration Permit 11 has been approved by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority, despite the total absence of any consultation with the Central Coast beach and coast-using community, or the Central Coast fishing and sea-life community, or the Central Coast Council, who oppose it unanimously,” he said.
Council voted last year to oppose the oil and gas exploration and wrote to the Federal Minister for the Environment requesting he receive a delegation from council.
The council received a response which said there were would be a number of consultation events in early 2019 but it did not agree to a council delegation.
Minister for Resources Mr Matthew Canavan said these events would be in Newcastle.
He urged the council to attend a roundtable meeting in Newcastle and a community drop-in session that would provide members of the public with information about the regulation of offshore petroleum, including seismic activities.
Cr Best moved at the Central Coast Council’s February 11 meeting that council respectfully request community forums be held on the Central Coast.
He said council should, on behalf of its 340,000 residents and ratepayers affirm its “strident opposition” to the exploration using controversial seismic blasting.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people were expected to attend a rally in Newcastle last Thursday, February 7, including the independent candidate for Robertson, Mr David Abrahams.
Mr Olsen said it was outrageous that public meetings were not being held on the Central Coast.
He said the risks to the lifestyle and amenity of the Peninsula were immense.
“Residents will be subjected to the smell of oil and gas on a daily basis, not the mention the visual pollution.
“Marine craft will be prohibited from venturing near the rigs.
“Oil and gas leaks are virtually inevitable and the risks of fire is high.
“An uncontained oil spill will devastate the beaches we love and enjoy not to mention the long term damage to the environment and marine life and sea birds.
“Only foreign oil and gas corporations will benefit as they are the major stakeholders,’’ he said.
“There will be no direct employment generated, except in the cleaning up of oil spills on our beaches and collecting dead marine life.”
Mr Olsen said anyone opposing the plan should write to their local Federal Member of Parliament and relevant Ministers.
Email, 7 Feb 2019
Gregory Olsen, Empire Bay
Central Coast Councl agenda Item 6.2, 11 Feb 2019