Media Releases - 03 November 2023

In bad taste: Queensland parliament hosts Santos ‘cocktail reception’ despite ongoing commitment to protect Qld Lake Eyre Basin

Lake Eyre Basin

Community groups working to protect Queensland’s Lake Eyre Basin from oil and gas have slammed Santos for inviting politicians to a “Cocktail Reception”, labeling the event a thinly veiled lobbying exercise.

On Thursday 2nd November, Queensland parliamentarians were invited to a Cocktail Reception sponsored by Santos and hosted by Australian Energy Producers (formerly Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA)) at Queensland Parliament. Queensland Labor and LNP MPs will hold the Cocktail Reception, called ‘Bring the (Lake Eyre) Basin to Brisbane’, despite the government currently considering thousands of submissions on the future protections of these rivers and floodplains.

The Wilderness Society’s Queensland Campaigns Manager, Hannah Schuch said it was in bad taste for parliamentarians to host the event when submissions from regional communities, Traditional Owners, and concerned members of the public were still being considered.

“It’s disappointing to see the government so conspicuously cosying up to the companies that are pushing for the greenlight to carve up the Lake Eyre Basin’s globally significant rivers and floodplains for dirty oil and gas, despite their repeated election commitments since 2015 to protect them.

“Over 20,000 submissions were made in support of protecting the rivers and floodplains from oil and gas expansion. The government should be spending their time considering and responding to the input of those who took the time to engage in the formal consultation process, and getting on with the job of protecting the rivers and floodplains, rather than allowing their integrity to be compromised over canapes alongside the oil and gas industry.”

Lock the Gate Alliance spokesperson and Queensland grazier Nick Holliday said, “Santos’ attempts to schmooze Queensland MPs with fancy cocktails wouldn’t pass the pub test at the Western Star in Windorah.

“It’s totally inappropriate for MPs of any persuasion to attend this event while the government is still, at least officially, considering how to protect the Channel Country from oil and gas.

“This is a part of Queensland that is home to some of the last free flowing desert rivers and floodplains in the world. I seriously hope Queensland’s politicians aren’t preparing to sacrifice all that in exchange for a cocktail and canape with frackers like Santos.”