‘We only take what we need from the ocean’

Damien Cole from Torquay leads the crowd in Burleigh Heads. Photo by Trent Mitchell.

The feedback period will close tonight on Equinor’s environmental impact statement for a proposed oil drilling project in the Great Australian Bight.

More than 3,000 surfers took part in another paddle out in Burleigh Heads just north of the Queensland-NSW border on the weekend, to protest the project.

It followed last month’s community gathering at Bells Beach, which attracted more than 2,000 participants.

NOPSEMA – the independent body tasked with reviewing Equinor’s environmental impact statement – will now take into account more than thirty-thousand submissions from Australians who oppose the drilling.

Equinor has said they won’t go ahead with the project unless they have public support.

The surfing community has been the most vocal in opposing the project after a graphic showed more than 30% of Australia’s surfable coast would be impacted by a catastrophic oil spill.

The Norwegian company claims their project is safe and the chance of a disaster is minimal but Bight locals believe the risk is too high.

“We only take what we need from the ocean,” leader of the Whale Tribe in South Australia, Bunna Lawrie said.

“All it takes is one earthquake to open it up.”

Mr Lawrie says he has not heard from Equinor and maintains a hard stance against drilling in the Bight.

By Keiran Deck

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