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Environment, Government Federal

Open Letter – Labor: Protect Community Rights, Our Precious Oceans And Marine Life

Climate Media Centre 2 mins read



As organisations whose collective purpose is to ensure a healthy environment and a stable climate, we are deeply concerned by the oil and gas industry’s aggressive lobbying campaign to water down the environmental regulations that protect Australia’s oceans. 


Woodside, Santos and Australian Energy Producers (formerly known as APPEA) are pushing to make it easier to drill for fossil fuels and seismic blast in our waters. This is in response to recent court cases, which found that Woodside and Santos failed to adequately consult Traditional Owners and Custodians about their plans to drill for gas. 


Our experience is that the industry’s bad faith approach to consultation is widespread. It is reinforced by a regulatory regime that is already far too lenient on the oil and gas industry. There is a de facto presumption from the oil and gas industry that fossil fuel developments should go ahead regardless of the impact on the natural environment or the community.


While the courts have recently begun to uphold the rights of Traditional Owners to be properly consulted - verdicts we welcome and support wholeheartedly - much more also needs to be done to ensure that our oceans and wildlife are protected.


Late on Friday December 1, Woodside’s dangerous plan to conduct seismic blasting in endangered whale habitat was approved by the offshore regulator NOPSEMA, just two months after a Federal Court threw out its previous approval due to a failure to properly consult with Traditional Custodians. 


We believe the current laws and regulations are failing to protect our oceans and marine life from harmful new fossil fuel projects. With our oceans and marine life facing multiple threats, including climate change, we believe that the laws need to be significantly strengthened to protect our oceans for future generations, and to ensure that community rights in environmental decision-making, as well as the distinct rights of First Nations peoples, are enshrined and respected.


We call on Minister King to strengthen community rights in the NOPSEMA public consultation requirements fossil fuel companies must abide by as part of the current review process. Furthermore the Australian government must strengthen environmental protection for threatened species such as blue whales that would be impacted by fossil fuel exploration and development, as part of the EPBC Act reviews underway.



  • Gudanji For Country
  • Save Our Songlines
  • Comm’s Declare
  • Greenpeace 
  • Environs Kimberley
  • Friends of the Earth
  • Market Forces
  • Australia
  • Darebin Climate Action Now
  • Surfers for Climate
  • Conservation SA
  • NT Paediatricians
  • School Strike for Climate
  • Australia
  • Margaret River Regional Environment Centre
  • Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania
  • People's Climate Assembly 
  • Parents for Climate
  • Vets for Climate Action 
  • Surfrider Foundation Australia
  • Conservation Council of WA
  • Healthy Futures
  • Climate Justice Union WA 
  • ARRCC (Australian Religious Response to Climate Change)
  • Nillumbik Climate Action Team
  • Jubilee Australia Research Centre
  • Lighter Footprints
  • Vote Earth Now
  • Environment Centre NT
  • Sea Shepherd Australia
  • The Wilderness Society
  • Publish What You Pay - Australia
  • GetUp! 
  • The Australia Institute

Contact details:

Sophie McNeill, Senior Campaigner, Greenpeace, on 0419 190 187 or

Jesse Noakes, Media and Comms Advisor, Save our Songlines,  on 0401 233 965 or

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