Labor and Liberals commit to reviewing Bight drilling plans

LABOR and the Liberal party have both come out today saying they will introduce a moratorium and conduct a review of drilling in the Great Australian Bight.
Labor and Liberals commit to reviewing Bight drilling plans Labor and Liberals commit to reviewing Bight drilling plans Labor and Liberals commit to reviewing Bight drilling plans Labor and Liberals commit to reviewing Bight drilling plans Labor and Liberals commit to reviewing Bight drilling plans

Great Australian Bight

 

Opposition leader Bill Shorten, who by current polling will become prime minister after Saturday's election, this afternoon announced he would introducing a moratorium on drilling in the Bight, should his party win government.

Under Labor's plan Equinor's exploration program would be blocked until an independent scientific study into the environmental impact of a potential spill was conducted.  

Shortly after the ALP announcement, the Liberal government also committed to conducting a review into drilling in the Bight.

The news has been welcomed by Greenpeace and environmental groups, who are pushing for a "total ban" on drilling in the Bight.

"The ALP has clarified and strengthened its position in the days leading up to the Federal election, by effectively committing to a moratorium on drilling in the Bight until an independent scientific study into the impacts of drilling is completed," said Greenpeace senior campaigner Nathaniel Pelle.

"With the federal election upon us, the ALP and Liberals need to step up and promise to ban oil drilling in the Bight if they want to win votes."

Drilling in the Bight has become a contentious issue for both major parties.

Liberal Resources minister Matt Canavan is in favour of the drilling, suggesting it could improve Australian fuel security, while Liberal member for Corangamite Sarah Henderson has joined protests in her ultra-marginal electorate. 

Labor's member for Mawson Leon Bignell is stridently against the project and flew to Norway with the protesters. 

In the meantime almost all independent candidates and, unsurprisingly, the Greens, are against drilling in the Bight and want to introduce legislation to ban drilling as soon as the next parliament sits.

The commitments from the major parties comes one day after activist shareholder's attempted to pass a resolution at Equinor's Annual General Meeting, gaining support from investment bank Aegon Netherlands and Aegon Asset Management Netherlands.

The motion was filed by a consortium of groups including Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund, with support from the Great Australian Bight Alliance which includes The Wilderness Society, Sea Shepard and others.

If passed the resolution would have forced the oil giant to abandon plans to drill in the Great Australian Bight and other "frontier areas, immature areas and particularly sensitive areas."

"Aegon Netherlands and Aegon Asset Management Netherlands believe it is of utmost importance that the Paris objectives are really achieved, both from a societal viewpoint, and from the point of view of our clients for whom it is important that the investments we make with their pension money do not entail any climate risks," Aegon chairman of responsible investment Eric Rutten said.

The motion was voted down with the backing of Equinor's majority shareholder, the Norwegian government.