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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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Put precious places ahead of industry interests

To mark today's International Hands Across the Sand day of action, Senator for South Australia, Penny Wright, has highlighted the unacceptable risks posed by Bight Petroleum's proposed oil and gas activities to the west of iconic Kangaroo Island.

Bight Petroleum currently has permits to explore for offshore petroleum in an area to the west of the island known as the Kangaroo Island Canyon and Pools, and intend to undertake seismic tests in early 2013 and start drilling in 2014.

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Marine Sanctuaries Speech

Senator WRIGHT (South Australia) (16:00): I rise to make a contribution to this debate because I cannot stay silent in the face of the scaremongering and hysteria being peddled by some unscrupulous elements of the fishing sector, fanned by equally unscrupulous and opportunistic claims from some members of the coalition of the Liberal and National parties. The recent announcement by the environment minister of a national network of marine reserves is certainly a substantial and major step forward for marine conservation in Australia and globally.

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Kangaroo Island Canyons left vulnerable: Greens

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke has missed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by failing to protect the area west of Kangaroo Island from oil and gas exploration and production, Australian Greens Senator for South Australia, Penny Wright, said.

"This is an extremely disappointing outcome for Kangaroo Island and its residents. Minister Burke has not listened to their concerns, instead leaving the Island vulnerable to the very real threat of an oil spill," Senator Wright said.

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Seismic Testing in the Great Australian Bight

Senator WRIGHT: I move:

That the Senate-

(a) notes that:
(i) up to 90 per cent of marine life within the Great Australian Bight is found nowhere else on Earth,
(ii) the Great Australian Bight is an important feeding and migration area to approximately 30 species of whales and dolphins, including sperm whales, beaked whales, southern right whales and the critically endangered blue whale, and
(iii) less than 1 per cent of this area is protected from oil and gas operations;

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Seismic Testing Threatens Iconic Species in the Great Australian Bight: Greens

The Government needs to stop putting the interests of big companies ahead of the protection of Australia's unique environment and marine life, Greens Senator for South Australia, Penny Wright, said.

Senator Wright moved a motion in the Senate today calling on the Government to cease issuing oil and gas exploration leases in the Great Australian Bight until after final decisions have been made on the establishment of marine sanctuaries. Currently less than 1 per cent of the Bight is protected from oil and gas operations but it is home to many species found nowhere else on earth.

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