Independent South Australian senator Tim Storer has heard the concerns of the local fishing and tourism industries as he aims to change how approvals for offshore drilling are authorised.
The senator visited Port Lincoln on Monday where he met with representatives of local government, business and the fishing and eco-tourism industries to hear about possible oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight.
Mr Storer is drafting an amendment to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 to return responsibility for approving or rejecting offshore drilling to the Environment Minister.
He said this would provide a more rigorous assessment process, with greater safeguards than the current process under the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority.
Mr Storer said the state government should listen to the concerns of communities along the coast about drilling in the Bight, as it did when it announced a moratorium on fracking in the southeast.
“The economic impact of an oil spill would be disastrous for the economy and well-being of the Port Lincoln community,” he said.
Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association chief executive officer Brian Jeffries said the seafood industry welcomed Mr Storer’s visit to hear its concerns.
He said it was emphasised to Mr Storer that the consequences of an oil spill in the Bight would be devastating for many Eyre Peninsula communities, particularly for the local fisheries and the aquaculture industry.
“The seafood industry emphasised to Senator Storer that it would use every legal means to stop Equinor drilling,” he said.
Pictured are Claire Webber (Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association), Senator Tim Storer, Brian Jeffries (Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association) and Jack Ritchie (Port Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and Tourism).