Stop new fossil fuels
Protect our ocean wonders and unique landscapes. No new fossil fuel exploration!
From Ningaloo Reef to the Great Australian Bight, Channel Country and the Kimberley, Australia's oceans and unique landscapes are under threat from the expansion of fossil fuels.
Globally significant landscapes are at massive risk from fossil fuel exploration. The critically important water systems of Queensland's Channel Country that feed Munga-Thirri / Simpson Desert and Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre, are under threat from petroleum leases.
Wollemi National Park in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area shockingly had coal mining leases on its doorstep. Destructive fossil fuel projects are being forced on Australian communities—and we’re stuck with the consequences forever.
At sea, iconic places like Ningaloo and the Great Australian Bight need to be protected and not sacrificed to the fossil fuel industry. Damaging their sensitive ecosystems places protected marine life at risk, like the Australian sea lion and southern right whale. The Australian Government must stop the mindless release of exploration acreage at sea for fossil fuel expansion.
Communities are saying no to fossil fuel developments, but governments are backing this climate-wrecking industry, over people and nature.
Together we can empower communities around Australia to keep pushing back coal, oil and gas companies. You’ll also help transform the decision-making process, so we can keep fossil fuel barons out of our oceans and out of our globally significant landscapes for good. With climate change causing more frequent and devastating fires and floods, fossil fuels must stay in the ground where they belong.
Unique marine wildernesses under threat
Each year, the ‘offshore acreage release’ process allows oil and gas companies to start a chain of destruction in Australia’s oceans. Run by the federal government without community consultation, this annual release of fossil fuel exploration acreage is a process driven by the petroleum industry wishes. The acreage releases for exploration lead to massive anxiety in coastal communities all over the country.
In 2021, the Australian government released an area of marine wilderness the size of lutruwita / Tasmania for fossil fuel exploration! Exploration acreage was even released close to the iconic Twelve Apostles on the Victorian coast, horrifying the local community as well as people all over Australia who saw that this national icon was under threat.
The mindless release of fossil fuel exploration acreage leaves communities like the people of King Island, lutruwita / Tasmania (pictured above) having to fight a rearguard action to stop fossil fuel exploration. The destructive process could destroy the fisheries that the King Island community and others like it, rely on.
Fossil fuel exploration begins with deafening seismic blasting, the effects of which are disastrous for surrounding marine life. Seismic blasting wipes out small animals at the base of the food chain like plankton, and disrupts the migrations of dolphins and whales.
- Seismic blasting fires loud explosions every 10-15 seconds 24 hours a day.
- One blast from a sonar air gun can kill tiny zooplankton more than a kilometre away.
- It can damage whales’ hearing and keep them from vital feeding and breeding grounds.
- The noise reaches 250 decibels—which is 70 decibels louder than a rocket launch.
Seismic blasting often ends in drilling of the sea floor. Oil drilling is a high-risk operation that caused the world’s biggest oil spill accident, the Deepwater Horizon tragedy in 2010, when 800 million litres of oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days. We don't want a repeat of this tragedy in our seas.
What we stand to lose
lutruwita’s kelp forests
Off the coast of lutruwita / Tasmania, giant kelp forests grow up to 45 metres from the ocean floor. These towering underwater jungles support an abundance of life, including the weedy seadragon, giant cuttlefish, seals, great white sharks and many big fish species. They also play a vital role in absorbing carbon. Kelp forests are already shrinking with the impact of climate change. Tragically, recent moves to open up oil and gas exploration off lutruwita / Tasmania’s coasts could risk some of the last we have left.
Western Australia’s Ningaloo and Gutharraguda / Shark Bay (Malagana Country) is World Heritage listed for its exceptional biodiversity. It’s home to one of the world’s longest fringing reefs and many rare species, including large populations of sea turtles and huge whale sharks who feed here for half the year. With your support, Wilderness Society saved an area off Ningaloo and Gutharraguda / Shark Bay (Malagana Country) from last year’s acreage release. But more must be done to stop the relentless push of oil and gas into this iconic region.
The Great Australian Bight
On Australia’s rugged southern coast, the Bight is a vital nursery for the southern right whale—which is nationally listed as endangered. Dozens more species of dolphins and whales, as well as endangered sea lions, also live here. Over 85% of the Bight’s animals and plants aren’t found anywhere else on Earth. With the help of passionate people like you, Wilderness Society, together with Mirning, the Traditional Owners of these lands and waters, kept the Bight safe from Big Oil. Now we need your help to protect this remarkable marine environment for good.
The Great Southern Reef (GSR)
Fringing southern Australia from Western Australia to northern New South Wales, is one of the world’s most pristine, life-giving reefs. The GSR is home to thousands of species, including whales, Australian sealions, little penguins, giant cuttlefish (pictured), leafy seadragons and lutruwita / Tasmania’s giant kelp forests. Yet acreage releases off the coast of Victoria and Tasmania mean this vital, interconnected system could be devastated by fossil fuel exploration.
Globally significant landscapes in danger
The mindless release of new fossil fuel acreage has a massive impact on landscapes and the communities that call them home. On land, it's the state governments that release fossil fuel acreage, and it happens at different times throughout the year making it very difficult to know if the local landscapes you cherish are up for the chop!
With your support, the Wilderness Society is working all over the country to safeguard Australia's most unique and biodiverse-rich landscapes and keep fossil fuels in the ground where they belong.
In Queensland, the Wilderness Society is shining a light on the proposed destruction of Channel Country's sensitive waterways for petroleum licences. While fossil fuel barons are threatening places like Martuwarra / Fitzroy River in the Kimberley, and Munga-Thirri / Simpson Desert.
In NSW, Wollemi National Park had been placed in danger because of coal mining leases on its doorstep; and we have been working for many years to halt Santos' Narrabri fossil gas project on the lands of the Gomeroi people in the Pilliga Forest, NSW, the lands of the Gomeroi people.
These represent some of Australia's most unique and vital landscapes that need to be protected from the destruction that the fossil fuel industry will bring to them and the unique wildlife they harbor.
And with your support, we are safeguarding these special places. The people of Rylstone on the western side of the Blue Mountains courageously opposed massive new coal mining lease areas right on the doorstep of Wollemi National Park. In November 2021, the NSW government officially ruled out releasing two areas to the fossil fuel industry after receiving more than 26,000 emails from Wilderness Society supporters. And on 4 May, the final lease was removed in a massive victory for the community.
Stop the expansion of fossil fuel in wilderness areas
For a safe climate, healthy oceans and thriving landscapes, we must stop new fossil fuel projects. The expert global International Energy Agency (IEA) announced in May 2021 that to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, there should be no new oil and gas exploration at all from 2021 onwards.
With your support we are calling for:
- Ending the mindless release of fossil fuel acreage in Australia’s oceans and landscapes.
- Supporting the surrender of permits for oil and gas exploration in the oceans, creating more opportunities for marine protection.
- Stopping public financing of any new coal, gas or oil expansion and infrastructure across the continent.
We know the best time to stop these irresponsible new fossil fuel developments is before they even start. And with your support we've been winning!
We helped communities that call the coastline of the Great Australian Bight home boot BP, Chevron, and more recently Equinor and Santos out of the marine wilderness. With your help we heaped pressure on the NSW government, which removed mining leases on the doorstep of Wollemi National Park.
Communities have a powerful voice, but we need community rights that guarantee people get a genuine say in the decisions that impact nature—and impact you. When communities have a rightful say, outcomes for nature and people are better.
Together, we can continue to expose the mindlessness of the ongoing release of new acreage to the fossil fuel industry and take on the big corporations that put places of global value at risk to extract more oil, gas and coal that we simply don’t need.