We must protect Victoria’s oceans from gas drilling

We must protect Victoria’s oceans from gas drilling
Ellen Sandell

Like most Victorians, our beaches and oceans are very special to me.

Before kids, I loved to scuba dive and discover the wonders below the surface. Now, most of my time at the beach is spent paddling in the shallows or exploring rock pools with two pre-schoolers!

Our coasts are home to precious and rare creatures, animals and plant life, but they’re also an incredibly important contributor to our economy. For example, the 12 Apostles is one of Victoria’s most popular tourist destinations, with more than two million visitors per year in pre-COVID times.

That’s why it’s absolutely shocking to me that the Victorian Labor Government is expanding gas drilling off Victoria’s coast. During the past few years, it’s opened up five huge new areas for gas exploration, including right next to the 12 Apostles marine national park.

In the wake of worsening extreme weather events – including the devastating floods in NSW and Queensland right now – governments need to be rapidly moving away from fossil fuels, not drilling for more.

Just a few weeks ago, the NSW Government announced a ban on all new drilling and mining for coal, oil and gas in their oceans. Amid all the tough news right now, NSW’s decision to ban new drilling is a welcome positive step forward for climate action.

The Victorian Labor Government needs to join NSW and do the same, which is why last week in Parliament my Greens colleagues and I introduced a Bill to ban oil and gas drilling along Victoria’s coastline too.

We currently don’t have many active drilling projects off our Victorian coast, and the few we do have are due to wrap up in the next few years, so the impact on industry or jobs would be very minimal. However, the positive impact on our climate from preventing any future projects and emissions would be huge.

Pushing our state government further and faster on climate action has always been a top priority of mine. While this Labor Government has done some good things when it comes to investment in renewable energy, unfortunately it’s also expanding gas drilling. This is on top of the fact that we still get 70 per cent of our energy from burning coal in Victoria, and the state government has no plan to transition away from coal any time soon or to support workers and communities as we do so.

The Victorian Government can’t just build renewables with one hand, and drill for more fossil fuels with the other and hope the climate crisis will go away – it doesn’t make sense. I think we can do things better.

If you’d like to hear more about our plans to ban offshore drilling, or lend your support to our Bill, you can find out more at greens.org.au/vic/ban-offshore-drilling

As always, if there is anything I can help you with, please get in touch: [email protected]


Image: Ellen Sandell is joined by Dani from Surfers for Climate at the Victorian Parliament to announce the Greens Bill to ban offshore oil and gas drilling,

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