The Australian Greens yesterday were the only party to vote in favour of recognising the ecological, economic and social importance of the Kangaroo Island Canyons and Pool to the Kangaroo Island community and South Australian community as a whole.
Earlier this month, Bight Petroleum applied for approval under national environmental laws to begin exploring for oil and gas in Commonwealth waters to the west of Kangaroo Island between January and May next year. The company intends to start drilling in 2014.
The Greens motion called for Bight Petroleum's offshore oil & gas plans to be rejected.
"The Kangaroo Island Mayor Jayne Bates has described Bight Petroleum's plans as ‘all risk and no gain' for her community, and we completely agree," Senator Penny Wright, Australian Greens Senator for South Australia, said.
"That the ALP and Coalition were unwilling to recognise the importance of Kangaroo Island to the community is yet another example of the old parties putting resource industry interests before the interests of people and nature.
"Bight Petroleum's application is so riddled with inaccurate and misleading information that conservation organisations have called for the application to be rejected outright.
"We are calling on Minister Burke to do the right thing by Kangaroo Island and all South Australians.
"Some places are just too precious to lose, and Kangaroo Island is one of them."
The motion read
I move that the Senate:
1. notes Bight Petroleum's referral of a proposed action under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Reference Number: 2012/9583) dated 15 October 2012 which sets out the company's intention to undertake seismic testing over a 3000 sq km area to the west of Kangaroo Island between January and May 2013;
2. recognises the ecological, economic and social importance of the Kangaroo Island Canyons & Pool, first and foremost for the Kangaroo Island community, but also for South Australia as a whole; and
3. calls on Minister Tony Burke to use his powers under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 to reject Bight Petroleum's referral as clearly unacceptable.