Labor leader Anthony Albanese and Newcastle federal politician Pat Conroy believe Prime Minister Scott Morrison has hung Keith Pitt “out to dry” on the controversial PEP 11 extension.
After staunch opposition from Hunter communities and businesses, as well as pressure from Labor, the PM – who visited the region on Thursday 4 March – finally admitted he didn’t support increasing the Petroleum Exploration Permit 11 (PEP 11).
“Scott Morrison’s shaky coalition with the Nationals has been tested yet again with the Prime Minister staying silent on PEP 11 [until today],” Mr Albanese said.
“Advent Energy’s application would allow oil and gas exploration drilling off the NSW coast from Port Stephens, Newcastle, the Central Coast and Sydney.
“Under the company’s proposal thousands of local jobs in tourism, hospitality, recreational and commercial fishing would be jeopardised.
“Scott Morrison’s backdown is in stark contrast to recent comments from the Minister for Resources, who was recently defending the proposal by saying ‘any rig is unlikely to be visible from the coast’.
“Unlike the Morrison government, Labor’s position on this proposal has been crystal clear.
“PEP 11 doesn’t make sense from an economic, environmental or energy perspective.”
Labor has been consulting with Save Our Coast, Surfrider Foundation, other advocacy groups and the broader community.
Shortland MP Mr Conroy congratulated them on their fierce advocacy in protecting their region.
“We support new energy and resources projects where they make sense, but this was always a dumb idea,” he said.
“A broad spectrum of people across the community knew it, it’s just a shame it took Scott Morrison so long to realise it.
“Rest assured, Matt Thistlethwaite, Emma McBride, Meryl Swanson, Sharon Claydon and the entire Labor team will not rest until this bad idea is 100% dead and buried.
“Labor is against it; the community is against it; and the NSW Government is against it.
“With his PM now joining the ranks of those against the application, is Keith Pitt still ‘concerned about some of the exaggerated claims being made by groups who are opposed to the permit?’
“Either Keith Pitt is wrong or the Prime Minister is.”