Media Releases - 17 November 2023

US Oil & Gas company’s plans to drill for fossil fuels off Victoria and Tasmania move ahead despite inadequate consultation

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) has accepted US Oil & Gas company ConocoPhillips’ Environmental Plan to drill for new oil and gas in the Otway Basin, off the coasts of Victoria and King Island.

NOPSEMA has now opened the Environmental Plan for public comment, despite concerns raised directly with NOPSEMA by organisations including the Wilderness Society that legally required substantive consultation is incomplete.

Stakeholders require sufficient time to provide a thorough review of the extensive documentation, including the combined environmental impacts of the project and the approach to managing oil spill risks. The need for adequate time to do so was formally flagged with the ConocoPhillips and NOPSEMA.

Wilderness Society also believes concerns raised about the impact of the critically endangered orange bellied parrot have not been adequately considered by ConocoPhillips’ Environmental Plan.

NOPSEMA was informed of Wilderness Society’s concerns about the stakeholder consultation process, but proceeded to accept the Environmental Plan regardless.

Fern Cadman, Fossil Fuel Industry Campaigner for the Wilderness Society, said, “ConocoPhillips threatens the climate, nature and people with disastrous plans for new oil and gas drilling in the wild oceans off Lutruwita / Tasmania and Victoria.”

“Recent court decisions have made it crystal clear that communities are entitled to a fair say about new fossil fuel developments, so it’s especially disappointing to see this project rushed through the detailed consultation stage and put out to public comment while many concerns remain unresolved.”

Wider public comment on the Plan is open until the 16th of December 2023.