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The Great Australian Bight

The Groundswell is building

The iconic Great Australian Bight is a place of unparalleled natural beauty, but it’s under immediate threat. Australians are standing up to protect it though, and the momentum from this groundswell of support is getting stronger by the day.
There’s a multitude of reasons to protect ‘the Bight’. Its waters contain even more endemic marine diversity than the Great Barrier Reef, and over 36 species of whales and dolphins call the region home. The protected southern right whale finds sanctuary in its calm coves to raise their calves, and endangered Australian sea-lions thrive in this undisturbed ecosystem.
But thousands of metres below the Bight's notoriously rough waters lies a giant oil basin—which, if extracted and burned, could easily put all of this at risk.
On the climate front, extracting this oil will blow Australia’s carbon budget1. And if we’re to keep our share of  global emissions in line with the internationally agreed 1.5ºC limit to prevent the dangerous impacts of climate change, the Bight simply cannot be opened up to oil drilling.
Further, the people who live along the thousands of kilometres of Australia’s southern coastline depend on these waters being kept pristine. A booming tourism industry, abundant fisheries and peaceful communities rely on the Bight, and an oil spill would be catastrophic on so many levels.

The threat

This unique and spectacular marine environment is under threat, with plans to turn the Great Australian Bight into an oil field.
We commissioned independent oil spill modelling, and it showed that a major spill would shut down fisheries, cause local extinctions and inundate the coastline from Western Australia to Tasmania. Even more sobering, after continuous requests to release its own findings, BP finally succumbed to pressure and made its modelling public. Scarily, its predictions were even worse than ours. 

Last year, thanks to supporters like you, BP was forced to back away from its plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight. Recently, we had another resounding victory: Chevron is also pulling out! This comes on the back of months of campaigning, community organising, training and tireless work with an alliance of organisations to protect our pristine southern ocean.

As well as this, five coastal councils have voted to oppose oil drilling in the area (so far). Together, we have made the Bight an inhospitable place for Big Oil. Our campaign is working. But the fight isn’t over yet. Now, we're ready to take on the last of the three Oil Giants with plans to start exploratory drilling: Statoil.

Join the growing sea of voices against Big Oil

Oil companies don't have a social licence to drill in our Great Australian Bight and, with your help, we’ll continue to prove this most important point.
We’re taking it straight to the top, with a petition aimed at the Prime Minister calling on him to ban oil and gas development in the Great Australian Bight—now and into the future.
Communities are mobilising, people are speaking out and momentum is growing. We’re calling this movement Groundswell, and it represents the sea of voices against Big Oil companies' risky plans to turn this iconic region into an offshore oil field.
We’re also one of the founding members of the Great Australian Bight Alliance, with fellow members Sea Shepherd Australia, which is uniting communities around the world to stop Big Oil in its tracks.


How you can help

You can help keep Big Oil out of the Bight, and ensure oil-free seas.
1) Join the sea of voices against Big Oil: Sign the petition!
2) Join Movement For Life—our new community organising program

1 Report: Implications of oil extraction from the Great Australian Bight for Paris Agreement long-term goal