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Sophie calls to Stop PEP-11

February 26, 2024

I rise to second the member for Warringah's private member's bill, the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment (Stop PEP11 Forever and Protect Our Coastal Waters) Bill 2024. I thank her for her ongoing commitment to protecting our climate and our environment since her election.

When it comes to PEP11, I can't say it more clearly: the people of the northern beaches of Sydney, of Mackellar and Warringah, will never accept drilling for oil and gas off our beaches. They have said this repeatedly and vehemently for years now. The risks to both our climate and our marine and coastal environments from oil spills, methane leaks and seismic blasting are too great and too awful. This mining proposal also puts at risk thousands of local jobs in tourism and hospitality and recreational and commercial fishing from Manly to Newcastle and beyond.

The coastline impacted by PEP11 is among the most beautiful in the world. In Mackellar, we know that we might rival Manly for the most beautiful beaches in the world but it is up to us to preserve and protect them for future generations. Yet, as the Australian Marine Conservation Society states, if the PEP11 licence is renewed, it will allow seismic blasting and drilling for gas in the migration routes of humpback whales and southern right whales as well as critical habitat for numerous other threatened species. Seismic blasting—let's be clear—has been described as the sound of an atomic bomb going off in their underground homes every three to 10 seconds, 24 hours a day for months on end. Between 2018 and 2020, the community group Save Our Coast collated 77,000 signatures for a petition opposing PEP11. This is just one of the many community groups opposing PEP11 whom we thank for their work. Yet the fossil fuel company Advent Energy, 30 per cent owned by BHP, are pushing on regardless as they seek to profit from the destruction of both our climate and our unique ocean environment.

This project is opposed by MPs of all electorates that will be impacted, from Manly to Newcastle, including the Labor member for Newcastle and the Labor member for Robertson on the Central Coast. Prior to the 2022 election, the Prime Minister himself called PEP11 an 'absurd proposal' and emphatically said that it would never happen under his leadership. Unlike the stage 3 tax cuts, there will be no happy voters if Labor is able to wriggle out of this election promise. So unpopular is PEP11 that even the fossil fuel addicted climate wreckers of the coalition's Nemesis era realised that they were on a hiding to nothing on this one. Despite the former resources minister wanting to progress PEP11, just 10 days after I launched as a candidate for the 2022 election the former Prime Minister in his capacity as the secret minister for resources announced an end to the project. The New South Wales state Labor Government have played their part in trying to end PEP-11. Earlier this month they took the extraordinary step of introducing a bill, which they are debating today, to prohibit seabed drilling in New South Wales state waters. Unfortunately, the PEP-11 licence applies to a region in Commonwealth waters, beyond the five-kilometre coastal zone of state waters.

Ultimately, the final decision on PEP-11 will lie at the feet of the federal Labor resources minister. If the Labor government truly wishes to stand by its election promise, this bill provides an opportunity to do so, to end this saga once and for all.

The SPEAKER: The time allocated for this debate has expired.