Federal government rejects PEP11

Offshore gas drilling (PEP11)
Image: Shutterstock

The Federal Government has announced the Petroleum Exploration Permit (PEP11) will not go ahead, which would have allowed offshore oil and gas drilling off the NSW coast between Newcastle and Wollongong, following long-term community opposition against the controversial project. 

The announcement was met with praise from opposition groups such as Surfers for Climate Action.

Surfers for Climate Action co-director Belinda Baggs has been heavily involved in community opposition to PEP11, which led to the PM publicly opposing the project in March.

“Swimming out into the ocean this morning I’ve never been so relieved to look at a beautiful blue horizon—not a gas rig in sight, and it’s going to stay that way, for good!

“After years of campaigning against this polluting project, my heart is full to know that the community’s passion for the ocean and care for our climate has overcome the petroleum industry. We have all stepped up and protected our shared aquatic backyard. 

Related article: Tasmanians protest ConocoPhillips seismic tests

I thank the Federal Government for listening to our calls and having the sense to make a decision that will benefit the people who live along this coast and keep this pocket of fossil fuels underground. 

When enough of us unite, we do have the power in stopping big gas and oil. We did it in the Great Australian Bight, We did it in Newcastle and next we will do it along the Great Ocean Road. 

Most surfers don’t want their beaches destroyed for a polluting fuel we no longer need. Its clear the tide is changing and we will continue kicking gas out of our line-ups.” 

Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) gas analyst Bruce Robertson said, “The PEP 11 licence should never have been granted, it is a failure of our planning system, it is actually one of the best examples of failure of the planning system. To grant a petroleum license is ridiculous. What’s next, will they want to drill off the Opera House?”