Falinski fights drilling plans


Mackellar Federal MP Jason Falinski has led a legion of moderate Liberal MPs urging the Morrison Government not to renew a license that would allow gas drilling off the Northern Beaches coastline.

The PEP11 license, which is up for renewal in February, would allow permit holder Advent Energy to drill for gas in 4,500sqm of water from Manly through to Newcastle. 

It has been met by fierce opposition from locals and environmental groups, including the Surfrider Foundation and Save Our Coast, who are concerned at the impact gas exploration may have on the health of marine wildlife, air and water quality and on the patterns of migrating whales.

In mid-October, Mr Falinski, with the support of fellow moderates Dave Sharma and Trent Zimmerman, and local MP Zali Steggall, tabled a motion in the House of Representatives calling on the government to oppose oil and gas drilling in the PEP11 zone.

He highlighted that in 2010, Advent Energy themselves admitted that exploration activities had failed to find gas.

“After 16 long years… no useful data has been uncovered, no useful discovery has been made. There has been so much risk, so much worry, and never before has there been so little reward for all of this,” he told parliament.

“My community has spoken loud and clear, we do not want to see the renewing of the PEP-11 license.

“We do not want to see the rich biodiversity that occupies our great our coastline put at risk, for an area of ocean which clearly doesn’t have anything to offer in terms of gas, but has so much to offer our generation and future generations.”

Mr Falinski also said he had written to Federal Resources Minister Keith Pitt, imploring him to refuse the license. 

Advent Energy has previously maintained PEP11 could be a potential solution to gas shortages and would supply gas to Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s proposed gas-fired power station in the Hunter Valley.

Debate on the lower house motion has been deferred. The decision on whether to extend the license sits with Mr Pitt and NSW Minister for Industry and Trade, John Barilaro. 

Stephanie Aikins

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