Letters to the editor

Disagree but don't attack

In response to Dennis Lightfoot’s allegations (Port Lincoln Times, February 27) and Michael and Jill Coates personal attack regarding my appearance in recent television adverts regarding the proposal to explore for oil in the Great Australian Bight (Port Lincoln Times, March 5).

Dennis Lightfoot’s letter is easily corrected, Michael and Jill Coates's letter however contains statements and allegations that are “most unusual” to say the least.

Firstly, thank you to Dennis for at least acknowledging Bruce Green and myself sounded credible in those adverts.

I can also reassure all that what we said was our words and definitely not scripted as suggested or stated in both letters. 

Bruce and myself had to approve those adverts before going to air. 

I can also categorically reassure you that neither of us were paid in anyway to do what we did, we had very strong personal reasons as to why we donated our time and reputations.

We were asked by the APPEA if we would appear in adverts stating our personal points of view, to which we agreed and both of us were aware that we would be subject to personal attacks and emotionally driven allegations for doing so. 

However, such is the importance of providing balance to the public discussion that we both knew we were going to have to cop it on the chin.

In regards to the Coates's letter, when you come under attack from people who state that, in regards to the risk of a blow out, “with no capping stack on site the devastation of oyster, lobster, other fishing, tourism businesses and property values in SA, Victoria, Tasmania and NSW is inevitable” you probably don’t really need to respond as the unusualness speaks for itself given that such a scenario is clearly not inevitable. 

However, there a few things I need to clear up just in case anyone is tempted to swallow any of it.

I never in anyway stated that I was representing the oyster industry, I want to make it clear that what I said were personal views only but some people will interpret it their way regardless. I utterly reject the Coates's assertion otherwise.

I also reject that I was naive in anyway when it comes to stating anything about the potential economic and job growth if oil production (not exploration) actually occurs out of this. 

The Coates's are welcome to disagree, but there is no need for a personal attack.

I struggle with their assertion that "we acknowledge he is correct about NOPSEMA having the statutory authority to decide whether the slight risk of a blow out against the certainty of total disaster to Southern Australia in that event is something they will risk endorsing”. 

I and am certain many others genuinely resent the inferred slur against NOPSEMA’s critical role as the industry’s independent umpire set up by a previous Labour government and how seriously they have to take their role when examining extremely detailed Environmental Plans and Risk Assessments and setting strict industry regulation and compliance. 

When it comes to assessing and balancing genuine risk and response, they are by far in the best position to provide a fair trial.

I also feel the need to refer all interested readers to the NOPSEMA frequently asked questions web page, where it explains what stochastic oil spill modelling actually is. 

It states that images generated show areas that are many times larger than what would actually be affected in the event of a real spill and not an accurate picture of what an actual oil spill would look like.

This modelling is required of exploration applicants by NOPSEMA regardless of actual risk and are used to guide genuine risk assessment and required response.

It would appear that the Coates's are referring to stochastic modelling maps and then stating that is what will happen with any blowout, which needs to be corrected.



Drilling optimism

Dennis (Lightfoot, Port Lincoln Times February 27) you should be safe at Lock.

Bruce Zippel you are a champ.

It is 375 kilometres off the coast so, like Bruce said, if all the boxes are ticked and they pass all the tests that the government of the time set down game over, they drill and so they should.

I can't wait to see a huge rig in the harbour on its way out to the position to spud in. Bring it on.


Port Lincoln

Blue crabs always been here

I notice the blue crab fishers are using the emotive subject of climate  change to justify moving the southern boundary of their fishing zone to  the Australian maritime border.

Part of the justification is the  statement "50 years ago there were no blue swimmers in the Port Lincoln  area".

I can state categorically that blue swimmers were prolific in  Proper Bay when I was a lad.

I'm 67 now and left Port Lincoln for five  years or so from age 17 so we are talking a bit over 50 years ago.

They did appear to decline as I grew older and I put that down to untreated effluent from the meat works and fish factories discharged into Proper Bay.

When the discharging ceased they started to return and seem to  increase in numbers each year.

To say they were not here 50 years ago is  simply not true and the fact they are back is not due to climate change.


Port Lincoln