Shortland federal MP Pat Conroy is calling on the Australian Government to give the Hunter and Central Coast communities an early Christmas present, by saying no to PEP-11 once and for all.
This week marks 10 months since the current licence expired.
However, Advent Energy is proposing an extension of its Petroleum Exploration Permit (PEP-11).
Mr Conroy believes it’s now time for an answer.
“In February, this year, the Minister for Resources Keith Pitt – who has the final say on whether the permit will be extended – said he’d ‘prefer the decision was made soon’,” he explained.
“More than 300 days later, we are still none the wiser on the licence’s future.
“This is a huge slap in the face to our community who have clearly and overwhelmingly voiced their opposition to PEP-11.
“The proposed extension of the licence would allow oil and gas exploration drilling off the NSW coast from Port Stephens, Newcastle, the Central Coast and Sydney for a further two years.
“This would put at risk thousands of local jobs in tourism, hospitality, and recreational and commercial fishing.”
Mr Conroy said since the licence expired on 12 February it had been in a rollover period, meaning exploration could continue while Mr Pitt made his decision.
“During this time, Advent Energy has actively prepared for the next phase of this project, including calling for tenders for drilling equipment,” he stated.
“The Prime Minister has come to the Hunter and Central Coast multiple times this year and said he opposes PEP-11.
“But, I guess, actions speak louder than words.
“Not only has Scott Morrison failed to get Mr Pitt to put an end to PEP-11, in October his government voted against allowing a debate on legislation, which aimed to kill off this project.
“This is a party that says one thing to their constituents and does another in Parliament.
“Labor has made its position clear: we stand with the local community in saying no to PEP-11.
“This uncertainty has dragged on for far too long.
“Mr Pitt needs to respect our community’s wishes, end the uncertainty, and say no to PEP-11 once and for all.”
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