Media Releases - 15 June 2021

Morrison to auction off 12 Apostles area for oil and gas exploration in 2021 Offshore Acreage Release

The Morrison Government has today released its annual 2021 swathe of offshore acreage to the oil and gas industry for exploration. It has released some 80,000 square kilometres of new acreage in Commonwealth waters, including one area that completely surrounds Victoria’s 12 Apostles Marine National Park, less than 3 nautical miles (about 5 km) from the 12 Apostles themselves. The Acreage Release also adds further areas to the west of highly contentious existing exploration acreage near Tasmania’s King Island.

Last month the International Energy Agency (IEA) released its Net Zero by 2050 Report that clearly stated that oil and gas exploration beyond 2021 is inconsistent with its roadmap to Net Zero emissions by 2050 and the Paris Climate Agreement.

Jess Lerch, National Corporate Campaigner for the Wilderness Society said, “this ongoing, mindless release of our land and oceans to fossil fuel interests needs an urgent and complete rethink.

“Auctioning off the ocean facing the 12 Apostles to the oil and gas industry shows that nothing is off-limits to the oil and gas industry. The carving up of the oceans to hand them to the fossil fuel companies happens without any environmental consideration and without any meaningful space for the community to have their say. Not even a national icon like the 12 Apostles will constrain the mindless release of acreage.

“This month the International Energy Agency said acreage releases need to stop this year and for there to be no more new oil and gas exploration if we are to meet net zero emissions by 2050.

“It is really just the latest horrifying example of the Morrison Government’s determination to cosy up alongside the fossil fuel industry to thumb its nose at the experts advising us of what’s needed to ensure a safe climate.

“Not to mention the Government’s willingness to ignore the very real cost of exploration to our oceans and communities like the King Island community which has been fighting existing seismic testing plans thrust upon it and its fisheries.

“Our marine environments, and the local communities and existing industries that depend on their health, simply shouldn’t have to bear the burdens and costs of offshore exploration to enable speculation for an industry that has passed its use-by-date,” concluded Ms Lerch.

For more information contact Jess Lerch on 0423 057 828

The area in question can be found on this map (see area V21-3) - 12 Apostles are east of Port Campbell.
- from 2021 Offshore Petroleum Acreage Release. Dept of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.