MEDIA RELEASE: 30 June 2020, Exmouth: The prospect of oil and gas development expanding south from the Pilbara to areas along the Ningaloo World Heritage area and into Exmouth Gulf has prompted a surge of concern from the community.

More than 30,000 people have added their name to a letter to the Federal Ministers for Resources, Keith Pitt, and Environment, Sussan Ley, to “apply common sense and remove the areas adjacent to Ningaloo that have been nominated for oil and gas exploration.” The letter calls on the Ministers to “signal clearly to the oil and gas sector that it must scrap any plans it has to further encroach on the Ningaloo-Exmouth Gulf area, either with pipeline facilities or oil and gas exploration or drilling.”

Protect Ningaloo Director, Paul Gamblin, said, “This is a massive response. People are understandably shocked by these proposals. Oil rigs could be as close as the Rottnest swim distance from the Ningaloo World Heritage area. What the community wants the Government to do here could not be clearer: Remove the threat of oil and gas development at Ningaloo and Exmouth Gulf.”

“It’s been an emphatic reaction from the broad community that cannot be ignored.”

The community concern most recently has been triggered by the nomination of large areas close to the Ningaloo World Heritage area for potential intensive seismic exploration and drilling. It comes as the controversial proposal for a major oil and gas pipeline fabrication facility and towing operation in a natural, biodiverse part of Exmouth Gulf, Ningaloo, is also under assessment by governments.

“It defies common sense and good governance to allow heavy industry to risk damaging the extraordinarily biodiverse, world-class marine and coastal areas of Ningaloo and nearby Exmouth Gulf, which sustain the bulk of the region’s jobs.”

“Prudent and reasonable economic policy for the region is to secure the natural assets that support the area’s famed tourism industry. Eroding that capital fails the test of economics, let alone undermining the sensible management of our natural heritage. A healthy environment at Ningaloo-Exmouth Gulf will generate even more jobs in tourism, research and land and sea management for decades to come. As the region reels from the impacts of COVID-19, governments should be even more conscious not to add further uncertainty and risk to the Ningaloo-Exmouth Gulf area.”

Notes to editors:

You can read the letter to Ministers here

The Federal Department’s nomination announcement can be seen here (it also includes areas off the Shark Bay World Heritage area, the Abrolhos Islands and the Kimberley-NT coast).

Photos and videos of Exmouth Gulf and Ningaloo wildlife and vistas are available on request.

Contact: Kate Smithers, Communications Advisor: katesmithers@amcs.org.au