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Media Alert – Friends of the Earth and Saltwater People stand united in support for Bill to ban offshore oil and gas

Friends of the Earth and Saltwater People 3 mins read

Friends of the Earth Melbourne and newly formed Saltwater People have today welcomed moves by The Australian Greens Victoria to ban offshore oil and gas exploration and production in and near Victorian waters.

Currently anticipating approval for the world’s largest seismic blasting operation proposed for the Southern Ocean in the Otway Basin, Friends of the Earth are among several local, statewide, national and Traditional Owner groups that have campaigned against the 4.8 million hectare title gaining approval. If it goes ahead it will release 250 decibel blasts of noise every 10-12 seconds for months on end mapping the subsurface of the ocean floor in the hunt for climate warming oil and gas.

Joining allied campaigners and Greens Members of Parliament on the steps of the Victorian Parliament, Saltwater People representative and proud Gunditjmara whale dreaming custodian Yaraan Bundle-Couzens spoke of the sacred importance of protecting whale dreaming sea country and keeping the oceans healthy for future generations.

Quotes attributable to Saltwater People representative and proud Gunditjmara whale dreaming custodian, Yaraan Couzens-Bundle

“There’s endemic species that you’ll find nowhere else in the world and Koontapool (the southern right whale) is a big part of that reef system and that songline that runs all the way around Australia. A few years ago we had a bumper whale system and many southern right mothers came pregnant and gave birth on Gunditjmara sea country at Logans Beach, the southern right whale nursery on the coast at Warrnambool. It’s very very sacred and highly culturally regarded to the Gunditjmara people. We ask for everyone to stand with us in helping protect Koontapool.”

“Our most immediate neighbours stand with us in protecting sea country as do many First Nations People, saltwater people around this land of the ancient Saltwater Dreaming. We don’t need new gas wells. We need the future of the oceans to be clean and healthy for the younger generations. We don’t want seismic blasting on our whale songline.”

“We ask the government and the regulatory bodies to take notice of the signs that are clear everywhere on country about the fast acting climate change and how we need science to catch up to our old knowledge systems about caring for country. We want everyone to know that they have a place in caring for country. Everyone needs to do their bit and we’ve got the technology and the smarts you’d think to change the way that we move forward and progress this nation forward.”

“We are fighting on behalf of our sacred country and our sacred songlines that will not be broken on our watch. We will not tolerate the disrespect to us and our identity or our natural world which we hold dear and which is sacred to us. We need everybody to get on board this fight and support a First Nations led solution to caring for country.”

Quotes attributable to No More Gas campaigner Freja Leonard:

“Victoria has had more than its fair share of gas projects in the Commonwealth waters  off our coastlines. Gas wells, some of which date back to the 1960s, have been found to continuously leak potent greenhouse gas methane for years after the platform has been decommissioned.”

“In the decades that the industry has operated, exploration methods have become more aggressive. 3D seismic blasting releases explosions of noise louder than an atom bomb. We know that it’s deafening and sometimes fatal for whales, seals and penguins. It destroys zooplankton which is the mainstay food for many ocean species. It destroys the buoyancy mechanism for crayfish so they float to the ocean surface to be picked off by birds. It’s devastating to the whole of the marine environment and this damage is unacceptable when we know that the climate can’t afford a single new oil or gas project.”

“It is the inexcusable in the search for the unnecessary. At every stage from exploration, through production and use to decommissioning the gas industry does immense damage. The Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment (No New Oil or Gas Activities) Bill 2022 introduced by The Greens is crucial to climate and marine ecosystem protection. If any Member of the Victorian Parliament has concerns about dangerous climate change they will vote for this Bill – or have to answer to their constituents when the next so-called one in a hundred year weather or fire event happens.”

“This is one of the most critical issues of our time and should transcend party lines. From now on every election is a climate election and we expect to see that reflected in how our elected representatives vote in Parliament.”

To arrange interviews or for more information please call:

No More Gas campaigner for Friends of the Earth Melbourne
Freja Leonard 0400 611 896

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