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Ban New Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling

We, the undersigned, call on the Victorian Government to:

  1. Support a ban on new offshore oil and gas drilling off the Victorian coast, similar to our NSW state counterparts, and support the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment (No New Oil or Gas) Activities Bill 2022.
  2. Pressure the Federal Government to disallow new gas and oil drilling in Commonwealth waters off the Victorian coast.

Background on Seismic Testing for New Offshore Oil and Gas Projects

Victoria’s coast is currently under threat in the Otway basin. Large oil and gas companies are applying to survey the area using seismic testing, a damaging exploration technique used by energy companies to search for oil and gas reserves beneath the ocean floor. It involves using airguns that emit powerful sound waves measuring up to 250 decibels, which penetrate the seabed and relay data back to research ships about geological structures that may indicate the presence of fossil fuels. These blasts are given off every 10 seconds, 24/7, often for months. Each blast can kill zooplankton up to 1.2 kilometres away, affecting the very foundation of biodiversity and life in the ocean.

Seismic testing is extremely controversial. The potentially negative environmental impacts include disturbance to marine life such as whales, dolphins, and fish, concerns about the potential for oil spills and damage to marine ecosystems, and the disastrous effect on the climate crisis from emissions associated with petroleum extraction. Just like humans, marine life is susceptible to loud noises, which can cause hearing loss, disorientation and even death. This affects the migration, health and welfare of marine life, particularly whales. 

Australia is the biggest exporter of gas in the world. So when we are working towards net zero targets, it seems rather incongruous that we need to be exploring more gas rather than looking at ways to increase our use of renewable energy. We must consider the global effects of fossil fuels on our climate emergency.

Environmental groups and some communities have raised objections to such testing, citing concerns about its impact on marine biodiversity, local fisheries and tourism. Whale watching sites have already noticed a severe decrease in whales migrating to our shores to give birth to their calves and this will translate into a loss in tourism dollars to local businesses.  As marine life is migratory, an environmental impact in one coastal area will have a devastating effect in other areas of Victoria who also rely on the flow on impacts that migration of marine life has for tourism and economics in their communities. 

The Victorian Government has already banned gas from being installed in new housing developments.  The science is clear. Stop Gas Exploration in Victoria!


Ban New Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling

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