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Campaigners meet to plan fight to protect Great Australian Bight

Photo courtesy of Greenpeace Do you ever wonder what happens when a project is posted on the AEGN’s Clearinghouse? In August 2016, the European Climate Foundation posted a project asking for $20,000 to assist an international gathering of NGOs and individuals to meet in Sydney this month to map out a campaign plan to fight oil and gas exploration in the pristine waters of the Great Australian Bight. Within days, support from seven AEGN members was raised. The Great Australian Bight is a designated marine park which is a sanctuary for whales, great white sharks and a host of other special and endangered species. One of the largest breeding populations of endangered southern right whale can be found at the Head of the Bight in South Australia. These magnificent creatures make their yearly migration from the waters of Antarctica to rest, breed and give birth in these waters. In addition to the whales, more than 85% of other species in the shallows of the Bight are found nowhere else in the world. BP, the company behind the devastating Gulf of Mexico oil spill had been planning for some time to start exploration drilling, however this week announced it is abandoning its plans. The European Climate Foundation, Greenpeace and the Wilderness Society say that protecting the Great Australian Bight and its environmental and Indigenous cultural values from offshore oil and gas exploration and production drilling is crucial as there are enormous climate and marine biodiversity implications if this drilling program gets underway. While its great news that BP is not going to proceed, Santos, Chevron, Murphy and Bight Petroleum are interested in exploring the area too. Further details from Greenpeace and Wilderness Society campaign pages: Six reasons to keep oil out of the Great Australian Bight by Greenpeace Asia Pacific The Great Australian Bight by The Wilderness Society