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Extraordinary Labor split puts Great Australian Bight Marine Park at risk

A Senate inquiry into the plans of companies like BP and Chevron to drill for oil in South Australia’s Great Australian Bight Marine Park has produced an extraordinary report, in which a South Australian Labor Senator has refused to endorse his own party’s comments and instead sided with the Liberals and the fossil fuel lobby.

“This inquiry has shown that the spectacular Great Australian Bight Marine Park is in danger of suffering a catastrophic oil spill if drilling is allowed to happen, but Labor can’t seem to make their mind up about whether they care or not,” South Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“It’s high time that Labor and the Liberals got serious about protecting South Australia’s natural wonders and tackling the threat of dangerous global warming.

“Thousands of tourism and fisheries jobs will be put at risk if any company is allowed to drill for oil in these pristine South Australian waters.

“The Great Australian Bight Marine Park is an essential sanctuary for southern right whales and a feeding ground for threatened sea lions, sharks, tuna and migratory sperm whales.

"We would be mad to let foreign oil companies put all of that all at risk."

During the ‘Senate Inquiry into oil or gas production in the Great Australian Bight’ it was revealed that Chevron, one of the companies seeking to drill in the Bight, had been donating money to both the Labor and Liberal parties while the hearings were taking place.

“The timing of election donations made by Chevron, a witness of this inquiry, to the South Australian Labor and Liberal parties raises serious questions about the ability of some Senators on this committee to investigate this issue fairly,” Senator Hanson-Young said.

“Chevron was recently convicted of tax shifting, moving profits offshore and avoiding Australian liabilities. This company can't be trusted to pay their fair share of tax, let alone treat South Australians and the environment with respect.

“It’s clear that some Labor Senators stand with their oil and gas donors instead of the South Australian communities that need a healthy Bight, and the thousands of jobs that come with that, to survive.

"This spectacular jewel in the Australian tourism crown should be protected from oil companies now and forever.”

The report can be found here.

Media Contact: Amy Moran 0427 604 760

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