Help us STOP plans to industrialise Exmouth Gulf!

Exmouth Gulf is one of the rare places left on the planet still bursting with wildlife. It’s a sanctuary for dugongs, a place where humpback whales nurse their newborn calves in its clean, quiet waters. The Gulf’s mangroves, seagrass meadows, corals and sponge gardens sustain countless other extraordinary species. But Exmouth Gulf is now threatened by industrial development.

A multinational oil and gas services company, Subsea 7, plans to construct a massive pipeline facility at Exmouth Gulf. They would assemble pipelines up to 10km long, launch them on a peaceful, undeveloped beach at Heron Point and drag hundreds of ballast chains across the seafloor, impacting an area up to 1000 football ovals in size. Subsea 7 would then tow these enormous pipelines through the beautiful Ningaloo World Heritage area and Marine Park.

Exmouth Gulf’s reputation as a world-class eco-tourism and research asset is growing. It sustains family businesses and will generate nature-based jobs and economic development for the long-term, but only if we stop it from being industrialised.

Scientific research confirms Exmouth Gulf’s status as a natural wonder of global importance. The Gulf is known as Ningaloo’s nursery and many species found on the Reef rely on the Gulf’s rich, biodiverse environment for their survival.

We need the WA and Federal Governments to take strong action for nature’s sake and for all the sustainable jobs that a healthy Exmouth Gulf and Ningaloo can support in the long-term if we take care of this precious ecosystem.

Please add your name to our letter asking Premier Mark McGowan, Environment Minister Stephen Dawson and other Members of Parliament to step up for Exmouth Gulf, now.

Live outside of Western Australia? Sign this letter

Protect Ningaloo is a grassroots initiative by ordinary people who are inspired by one of the world’s last great places and want to protect it.

Who are we?

We are supported by an alliance of community groups and charities. Cape Conservation Group is a volunteer organization based in Exmouth. The Conservation Council of WA is the state’s premier environmental NGO. The Australian Marine Conservation Society is the nation’s peak marine charity. All of these groups were members of the historic Save Ningaloo Reef campaign that ran from 2000-2005. We’re supported by scientists, researchers, tourism operators, rec-fishers, birders and enthusiastic amateur nature lovers from all over the world. We’re short of time and we’re in the fight of our lives but we hope you’ll feel the passion and help us however you can.

What do we want?

We want to put the welfare of the Reef, the Range and the Gulf first in all development decisions.  We’re determined to protect and preserve the extraordinary ecosystems that make up the Ningaloo Region.  But to do that we need to restore some precautionary principles to coastal planning locally.  We need to tell the WA and Commonwealth governments that Ningaloo’s Nursery needs protection not industrialisation.  We want to celebrate a wonder of the world and save it from degradation.  The only way we’ll achieve that is to get the news out and rally the passion of people like you. Protect Ningaloo supports a sustainable, creative future for the region.

Ningaloo’s Nursery

Exmouth Gulf is a rare and precious estuarine system in Australia’s north west. Surrounded by mangroves, white beaches and rugged ranges, it’s home to hundreds of incredible species of sea life. Still unspoilt by development, it’s crucial to the health of nearby Ningaloo Reef, one of the world’s last healthy coral reefs. Ningaloo Reef and the Cape Range are already on the World Heritage List. But the IUCN says that the Gulf has World Heritage values too and needs more protection. Scientists regard the Reef and the Gulf as critically interconnected systems.  The Gulf is where the fish, sharks and crabs are born.

It’s where humpback whales come to give birth and nurse their calves. It’s a playground for humans, too, supporting the sustainable eco-tourism hub of Exmouth.  This is where you go to see dugongs, manta rays and leaping whales. But now oil and gas players want to open the Gulf to industry. Proposals that would never be contemplated at the Reef are now being actively promoted for Exmouth Gulf.

New threat from oil and gas

The Shire of Exmouth is considering planning amendments that open the door to industry in Exmouth Gulf.  Until recently this was considered unthinkable. Subsea 7, a multinational company, wants to build an oil and gas pipe assembly plant and launch site at Heron Point, a secluded bit of beach and bushland in the southern part of the Gulf. 

Subsea 7’s proposed heavy-engineering project would involve the construction of a 380-metre-long launchway across an undeveloped beach at Heron Point, impacting crucial coastal and nearshore ecosystem processes.  Ocean-going tugs would tow large pipelines (up to 10 km long) up the Gulf, dragging hundreds of ballast chains along the seabed (an area up to 1000 football ovals in size), potentially disturbing and damaging sensitive habitat including sponges and corals.  The pipelines would then be towed through the world-famous Ningaloo Marine Park and World Heritage area.  To construct and launch these pipelines, over 1.7 million square metres of natural bushland would be bulldozed to make way for two 10 km railway bundle tracks, service roads and fabrication buildings

Di Morrissey

“I’m proud to continue supporting the protectors of our precious Ningaloo coastline.  If we don’t act NOW, it will be too late.  Make sure you tell your grandchildren that YOU stood up for country!”

Roger Swainston

“The southern Exmouth Gulf is a very special place. It’s a rare and valuable combination; untouched, still largely unknown and right on our doorstep. As a vital part of the whole World Heritage Ningaloo ecosystem we must preserve and protect its integrity. We cannot allow its vast uninterrupted spaces, its great sweeping shallows and the life they nurture to be destroyed by allowing industrial develop in this precious southern gulf.”

Missy Higgins

“The world is losing wild places fast and Ningaloo is one of the last we have. So let’s defend Ningaloo’s Nursery from industrialisation. Join protectningaloo.org.au.”

Ben Elton

“When will we say enough is enough? Short term profit for a few and a deceptively small (and short term) contribution to jobs and the local economy are a pretty poor trade off for what is left of our natural world. The only answer is renewable energy and a halt to this insane planetary vandalism. We do not inherit the Earth from our parents, we borrow it from our children.”

Fiona Stanley

“It’s important that we have a long-term vision that ensures our children have a healthy and sustainable future, and to do that we need to protect our natural environment from pollution, degradation and industrial pressure. Safeguarding precious ecosystems like Exmouth Gulf is vital. Our children’s futures are at stake.”

John Butler

“Almost twenty years ago we stood together to protect our precious Ningaloo Reef from industrialization, and once again we’re being called to do the same Ningaloo’s nursery in Exmouth Gulf.  We the Australian community have to protect our natural wonders from a fossil fuel industry that’s had its day and should make way for renewables.”

Bernard Fanning

“Ningaloo is precious, and so is the Gulf that keeps it alive. Fight for Exmouth Gulf.”

Peter Garrett

“Ningaloo Reef is a miracle and a gift. It’s one of the last great wild places left on earth, so why would anyone put Ningaloo’s nursery at risk? Don’t let it happen.  Protect Ningaloo!”


“This stretch of the West Australian coast is extremely special. Each of us travelled to Ningaloo as kids with our families. It evokes such warm nostalgia. The magic must be preserved for future generations. Fight for the Exmouth Gulf and Ningaloo!”

Luc Longley

“I was proud to be a part of Save Ningaloo back in the day, and I’m still proud to support Protect Ningaloo. The Gulf needs more protection, not more pressure.”

Tim Winton

“Australians love Ningaloo and they’ll fight for it.  100,000 of them proved that back in 2003 and they made history. Once they hear what’s being planned for Ningaloo’s Nursery they’ll rise up and do it again.”

Our Patron

Tim Winton

Australia’s most famous author, and listed as a Living Treasure by the National Trust, Tim Winton has been a conservation advocate for 25 years, and was prominent in the historic Save Ningaloo Campaign in the 2000s.

“I’m proud to support these passionate Australians fighting for a place we all love.  I hope you’ll help them out to Protect Ningaloo and save Exmouth Gulf.”

Alliance Partners


If you love Ningaloo
it’s time to step up
and defend it.