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KI community in limbo as environmental deadline lapses

The Kangaroo Island community remains in limbo after mining company Bight Petroleum failed to publicly release documents relating to oil and gas exploration in nearby waters, says Senator for South Australia Penny Wright.

Last month Environment Minister Tony Burke declared the company's application a controlled action and ordered Bight Petroleum release all preliminary documentation to the public for scrutiny within 20 working days. This deadline has now passed.

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Further scrutiny will show the danger of Kangaroo Island drilling plans: Greens

 

The Australian Greens say closer review of Bight Petroleum’s plans to explore for oil off Kangaroo Island will make it clear the action poses an unacceptable risk to the environment and the Island’s future.

Environment Minister Tony Burke has declared seismic testing off the coast of Kangaroo Island a controlled action, meaning that the project will require appropriate assessment and approval from the Commonwealth Government. 

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Burke must protect Kangaroo Island blue whale feeding grounds

Australian Greens Marine spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert says allowing oil and gas exploration off the coast of South Australia's Kangaroo Island would contradict other Government environmental programs and put endangered animals at risk.

Environment Minister Tony Burke is expected to announce his decision on a proposal to commence seismic testing at the Kangaroo Island Canyon and Pools this week. Bight Petroleum intends to undertake seismic tests in the coming months and start drilling in 2014.

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Motion for futher protection of Giant Australian Cuttlefish at Point Lowly

I move that the Senate-

(a) expresses deep concern about the upper Spencer Gulf population of the giant Australian cuttlefish (Sepia apama) which has catastrophically declined from a high of over 200 000 individuals in 1999 to less than 10 000 individuals in 2012; and

(b) calls on the Gillard Government to urgently reassess whether or not the upper Spencer Gulf population of this species is eligible for listing under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

This motion did not gain the support of the Senate.

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Government must act on Giant Cuttlefish decline

The Federal Government has rejected calls to increase protection of the Giant Australian Cuttlefish in South Australia's Upper Spencer Gulf, voting against a motion introduced by South Australian Senator Penny Wright to reassess their environmental listing.

"Cuttlefish numbers at Point Lowly have plummeted from over 125,000 just three years ago to less than 10,000 today," Senator Wright said.

"The South Australian State Government has failed to take action on this catastrophic decline and further industrialisation is planned for the area.

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Motion on seismic testing near Kangaroo Island

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: 2012/6583);

2.    recognises the high likelihood of the proposed seismic survey encountering, and having an adverse impact on:

2.1.    blue whales if undertaken between November and April;

2.2.    southern right whales if undertaken between May and October; and

2.3.    southern bluefin tuna if undertaken between December and April; and

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Greens only party standing up for Kangaroo Island community

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.

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Kangaroo Island motion

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

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