West Coast residents raise voices for Great Australian Bight

NO OIL: Jamilla Martin from Port Willunga, Sue Haseldine from Ceduna, Susie Thistleton from Ceduna, Kyri Toumazos from Adelaide and Linda Irwin from Kangaroo Island at the protest. Photo: Jo-Anna Robinson/Greenpeace
NO OIL: Jamilla Martin from Port Willunga, Sue Haseldine from Ceduna, Susie Thistleton from Ceduna, Kyri Toumazos from Adelaide and Linda Irwin from Kangaroo Island at the protest. Photo: Jo-Anna Robinson/Greenpeace

A Far West Coast elder was among those who voiced their opposition to oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight in a protest in Adelaide on Tuesday.

Representatives from coastal communities across South Australia joined others outside the annual Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association conference to argue against Norwegian company Statoil looking to drill for oil in the Bight.

Community leaders stood on a black carpet, representing the dangers of an oil spill, addressing their concerns about the risks involved with drilling.

Kokatha elder Sue Coleman-Haseldine, of Ceduna, was among those at the rally who wrote an open letter to Statoil.

“We write on behalf of people around the world that are fighting to protect their Country, livelihoods, and water from dangerous oil drilling and climate change,” the letter reads.

“Together, we ask that Statoil abandon their plans to pursue risky deepwater oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight, and around the globe.

“Statoil must respect the Indigenous custodians of the land and sea from who you wish to extract oil and gas.”

Greenpeace Australia Pacific senior campaigner Nathaniel Pelle said people from Ceduna and the West Coast have been voicing their opposition, of which Ms Coleman-Haseldine was one of them.

“People who use the ocean environment every day for their livelihoods need to keep it clean and pristine,” he said.

Further action against oil activities in the Great Australian Bight will take place across the West Coast on May 19 with Great Australian Bight Alliance holding Hands Across the Sand events.

Ceduna will hold an event at the jetty beginning at 10am with a further event planned at Point Sinclair near Penong at 1pm.

Elliston and Streaky Bay will also host their first Hands Across the Sand events at Front Beach (Moogs Corner) and Streaky Bay jetty respectively, both starting at 11am.

Elliston event organiser Anna Taylor said it was great to see more people on the West Coast voicing opposition and hoped for a good turnout from the Elliston community this weekend.

She said the grass roots movement within the communities was building, which was seen at the Nevertown film screening at Elliston last weekend.

“We feel the movement has grown,” she said.

“At the first (alliance) event in Elliston we had 70 people, now there was 100 people. 

The screening included an appearance from surfer Dave "Rasta" Rastovich who shared some stories and spoke in support of protecting the Great Australian Bight.

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