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Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment (Stop PEP-11 and Protect Our Coast) Bill 2023

This issue to extinguish the licence for PEP-11 needs to be urgently debated today. My electorate of Mackellar and the people up and down the coast of the northern beaches are absolutely horrified after being promised by both sides, by both large parties, at the last election that this was dead in the water—100 per cent, exclamation mark, full stop—and that there was no chance that this would go ahead. But here we are debating it again. We are still here. It needs to be urgently debated today because the people of Mackellar and all the other electorates that it affects have had this hanging over our heads for way too long, for year after year. We were promised that it was dead in the water, and now we know that it has gone back to the joint authority. This is not nearly good enough because it will give us no finality whatsoever. It will only assess the current companies' licences. It will leave the door wide open for future companies to take on this license. So we will have to fight this over and over again.

Also, this current process of it being assessed by the joint authority leaves it open to being challenged in court again because of the argument of apprehended bias. We know that the Prime Minister, the minister for resources and all sides of government have publicly commented that they do not support it, so there would be a good reason to challenge this in court. We must have finality on this. I must say that people up and down the northern beaches will never accept this—never. It will be strongly opposed if any company wishes to go ahead. It will be vehemently opposed.

We hear that there is a gas crisis. Let's be clear: there is no gas shortage in this country; it's just that up to 80 per cent of it is shipped overseas. We don't have a gas shortage in this country. Even in Japan, which is one of our greatest markets, in their latest strategic energy plan they are reducing their gas consumption by 30 per cent by 2030. The world is in transition. We are moving to the future. We are moving away from fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are the past. They are 20th century technology. Why are we hanging onto the past when we should be moving to a profitable future in renewables? We know that the whole world is transitioning. So why do we have people hanging onto the fossil fuel past? It is time to move forward to a profitable future.

The people of Mackellar and up and down the coastline want some absolute certainty on this. We cannot keep debating it. We have been promised by both sides of parliament. Now is the time to act. This amendment is the way to get some finality and some certainty around this. It's time to move on and move into the future. The transition is on. Let's do it. Let's make a profitable future for our country. It's time to debate this now, with no more delays.