NSW Opposition kicks off debate on Bill to ban offshore drilling

The NSW Opposition is looking to kill the PEP-11 project off the Hunter coastline once and for all.

Debate began in the stat parliament on Thursday, on a Bill introduced by the Coalition, which they say could sink the controversial offshore drilling project by banning coal, gas, mineral and petroleum mining and exploration in NSW waters.

Pittwater MP Rory Amon, who introduced the Bill earlier this month, kicked off the debate saying there would be safeguards for mining sand for the purposes of beach nourishment. 

“Importantly this Bill ensures that the ability to grant permits and licenses for the exploration and mining of sand for beach nourishment will be retained.

“This will ensure that beaches like Stockton Beach can be nourished and other coastal areas can be protected from the challenge of coastal erosion,” Mr Amon said

The project has been approved and rejected a number of times. Most famously when Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison secretly took on the resources portfolio and rejected it. It now sits with the Commonwealth-New South Wales Offshore Petroleum Joint Authority after the Federal Court overturned Mr Morrison’s decision, following an appeal from Advent Energy.

PEP-11 is primarily located within Commonwealth waters off the NSW coast between Newcastle and Wollongong, which require a ban from the Federal Government.

Speaking on the proposed legislation earlier this year in the Hunter, Federal Energy Minister Chris Bowen labelled the Bill as a stunt, saying the NSW Government doesn’t have the constitutional power to ban the project.

“We’re in this situation because the previous prime minister stuffed it up. That’s why we’re in this situation. Because he secretly took a ministry and took a decision which was vulnerable at law, in the courts. That’s why this Government has been put in the situation because Scott Morrison buggered up almost everything he touched and most spectacularly PEP11. 

“Now importantly, we won’t make the same mistakes. So to avoid any risk of any perception of apprehended bias, I won’t say anything other than that,” Mr Bowen said in February.

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