Media Releases - 24 August 2022

Save Southern Sea Country - a joint statement

Our organisations stand united in opposition to TGS and Schlumberger’s proposal to conduct 3D seismic blasting over an area larger than the state of Tasmania, some 7.7 million hectares of marine environment between Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.

We call for an immediate cessation of all gas exploration activities and an end to any expansion of gas development or extraction activities, including and not limited to, activities proposed in the ocean areas covering gas basins named the Otway and Sorrell Basin.

We acknowledge the waters we work to protect from seismic blasting and other gas exploration, development and extraction activities include the Sea Country of First Nations peoples along the south coast and across the strait, including and not limited to, Ngarrindjeri, Buandig, Gunditjmara, Keerray Wooroong, Gadubanud, Waddawurrung and Peerapper waters. We pay our respect to Elders past and present and all First Nations Peoples.

We acknowledge the work done by First Nations people over many many decades since colonisation began, calling for the protection of Country and Sea Country. We commit to working together under guidance towards our shared goal to contribute to this protection.

We uphold the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including Article 25: Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinctive spiritual relationship with their traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources and to uphold their responsibilities to future generations in this regard.

We pledge to listen and follow their leadership as we continue to learn from the custodians of these lands and waters, to care for Country and Sea Country, to take responsibility and do our duty, to behave properly, with full due respect for First Nations people.

We support the Citizens’ Protection Declaration by the Southern Ocean Protection Embassy Collective, led by Gunditjmara Whale Dreaming Holders, which states that:

  • We grant immediate protection to the Koontapool/Southern Right Whale.

  • We declare a critical habitat for Southern Right Whales.

  • We support First Nations people who hold the solutions for caring for Country.

  • We refuse any further fossil fuel projects on our land and in our waters.

  • We demand to engage in negotiations for protection and sanctuary status granted to the entire South West iconic coastline and coastal waters, a large part of which make up Gunditjmara Sea Country.

We believe that at this time in history our focus must be on taking urgent, powerful action to address the climate and biodiversity crises we face, not continuing speculative expansion of the fossil fuel ventures fuelling the climate crisis, putting our oceans and unique biodiversity at risk during exploitative exploration activities.

We oppose the expansion of oil and gas exploitation in the Otway Basin and any release of new fossil fuel acreage by the Australian government in this region.

We unite in calling on the relevant state and federal governments and decision-making agencies to refuse permission for this seismic proposal to go ahead.

We call on the Federal and Victorian governments to uphold these commitments also.

See (and sign on to!) the full Southern Ocean Protection Embassy Collective (SOPEC) Citizens’ Protection Declaration

And see the No Gas Across the Bass petition