Surfers for Climate at NSW Parliament with Josh Kirkman, Penny Sharpe and Belinda Baggs.

NSW Politicians Drawing a Line in the Sand on Gas off the Coast

Yesterday, NSW Minister for Climate Change and Energy Penny Sharpe and NSW Minister for the Central Coast David Harris announced that the NSW Government will be putting forward legislation to BAN offshore oil and gas exploration and mining in NSW waters!

After years of campaigning to draw a Line in the Sand and ban all new offshore oil and gas in Australia’s pristine ocean, we are stoked that politicians have heard the message loud and clear, and now practically all of them are supporting the ban!

That PEP-11 project you’ve been hearing about for years? Looks like this amendment to legislation could be the final nail in the coffin as it not only stops fossil fuels in state waters, it also prohibits the laying of pipeline through NSW waters to support oil and gas exploration in Commonwealth Waters.

This is a fantastic outcome for everyone across NSW and Australia, and shows how seriously we all take protecting our pristine ocean from the impacts of climate change. With this announcement from the Labor Government, we know that the overwhelming majority of politicians in NSW want to draw a line in the sand on oil and gas in NSW waters and beyond.

We’re thrilled to see a growing bipartisan approach to climate action in NSW which will also bring jobs and economic opportunities to coastal and regional communities as we shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Politics is a funny space for most of us, with so much trust lost over the last few years due to COVID lockdowns, broken promises and trips to Hawaii when towns are literally burning to the ground. But this moment in NSW is a unique ‘kumbaya’ for the environment, given the NSW Liberals, NSW Nationals, Greens and Independents are now all committed to end offshore oil and gas in the state.

There really is no reason why the Government’s bill can’t be passed in the next session of Parliament which is in mid-March, and from there, Surfers for Climate will now be looking to other States and Territories, as well as the Federal Government, to follow NSW’s lead and finally draw a line in the sand for our ocean and ban all fossil fuel drilling and mining in Australian waters for good.

Our good mate Tom Carroll also weighed into the debate following the recent announcement from the Labor Government in NSW and after years of protest on the PEP-11 issue:

“The ocean has been the source of so much joy in my life. To learn that NSW is now set to be the first state in the country to protect its waters from oil and gas projects is huge! But, to really make Australia a world champion for our ocean, we need not just NSW saying no to oil and gas, but the whole country saying no too. There’s been a deafening silence from the federal government on PEP11 since they got elected – coastal communities need to know if the federal government is serious on this issue or not.”

Looks like there’s going to be a lot of stoked surfers in NSW come the middle of March when NSW becomes the first state in the country to enact such powerful legislation to protect the ocean. Our CEO Josh Kirkman has one final piece of advice for anyone who crosses the path of a local politician when the legislation passes:

"If you see your local state politician in the street, stop and give them a pat on the back for this one. Big wins like this don’t happen very often for the environment and they deserve the credit for this one."

I guess that means we are introducing: Hug a Coastal Pollie Day Mid-March sometime…

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