Monster in the Bight
I am an intelligent person. I've been following environmental and climatic events for the past two years.
I read the IPCC report. It's very clear to me that we have an urgent environmental and climate crisis in Australia right now.
School children are protesting quite rightly and I haven't just seen that on TV or social media, I was at the Adelaide protest yesterday and at the first one last November.
The main features of the Australia I grew up in are dying around me.
The Great Barrier Reef and the Murray-Darling Basin are definitely dying; the country is ravaged by drought, extreme bushfires and weather events; our forests are being destroyed and we're one of the worst countries for rates of habitat loss and extinction.
The status quo is no longer viable, change is happening too quickly.
Except for our government. It isn't changing. It hasn't yet begun acting on climate change and it's not yet clear how things will go in the coming election.
All I can be certain of is myself and I have a new little beloved grandson.
I certainly want as good as possible quality of life for him and his mother.
I have to do everything I can to fight Equinor.
As I'm sure you know, across the country there are many groups very determined to Stop Adani.
But I really deeply want to start a group to stop Equinor from doing this oil searching.
However I hear that Equinor is a world leader in renewable technology, which could provide significantly more jobs and make SA the powerhouse of Australia.
Let's suggest we do business with Equinor on this basis, causing no controversy or community opposition but instead a warm welcome.
Disaster in the making
I fully support Senator Tim Storer's bill which would introduce a higher level of consideration for drilling proposals in the Great Australian Bight for now and the future.
Recently as Master of an oil response and salvage tug in the Coral Sea myself and colleague Mark Stewart (ex tuna boat skipper in the Bight) had to deal with what would be considered a small spill from a wrecked container ship.
It was impossible to successfully contain and remove the majority of the spilled heavy fuel oil, even in millpond conditions.
There is no way even a minor spill could be contained in the sea conditions in the Great Australian Bight.
We were there in the salvage operation with hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment on the deck purely to appease the local government, environmental management groups and the extremely concerned citizens and remote indigenous communities. In reality, with winds over 12 knots we could not operate the system.
Therefore, how is the biggest oil response vessel going to operate in a winter's gale in the Bight and how many vessels would need to be deployed at short notice to even attempt such a task?
I would like to see NOPSEMA's answer to that. It is impossible.
Look at the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Billions of dollars later and still an ongoing issue.
The small amount of heavy fuel oil that washed up on pristine beaches of remote islands off New Caledonia was the most vile, black, sticky substance imaginable.
After weeks of scrubbing it was still on the vessel and probably still there.
Why is Equinor banned from drilling in Norway? Because of the risk to the environment.
We cannot let this happen. For the sake of the environment, our children, their children and all future generations. The risks far outweigh the benefits.