With time for making public submissions running out fast, Australian Greens Senator for South Australia, Penny Wright, has encouraged South Australians to stand up for Kangaroo Island and tell Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke KI is too precious to lose.
Last week Bight Petroleum - which holds two exploration permits about 50km to the west of Kangaroo Island - formally applied for approval to begin oil and gas exploration in the area between January and May next year. The company intends to start drilling in 2014.
"Earlier this month I went to Kangaroo Island to meet with key community leaders about this issue. The Council, local green groups and fishing organisations are all united in their concerns about Bight Petroleum's plans. But Kangaroo Island is small, and they are worried their voices will not be loud enough to convince Minister Burke to do the right thing by their community," Senator Wright said.
"The public has only been given 10 days to have their say and time is running out fast, with submissions closing next Monday.
"I am urging all the people who love Kangaroo Island, who care about its wildlife and its people, to join the call urging Minister Burke to reject Bight Petroleum's application, or at the very least, to make sure a detailed environmental impact assessment happens before the company can start exploring for offshore oil and gas.
"Even a small spill would damage the Kangaroo Island community in so many ways. Take out tourism or fishing and you have a lot of families who would have to leave the island in order to find work elsewhere. That would have serious ripple effects for the entire community - schools, sporting clubs and local businesses. The long-term viability of the community would be threatened.
"We need to put this special place - and its people - before the short-term interests of the resource industry. Kangaroo Island is just too precious to lose."
Online submissions can be made at: http://greensmps.org.au/content/minister-burke-kangaroo-island
People can also share their special memories of Kangaroo Island on a new Facebook page designed to tell Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke that Kangaroo Island is just too precious to lose. The Kangaroo Island - Too Precious to Lose Facebook page can be found at http://www.facebook.com/Kangaroo.Island.TPTL