MEDIA RELEASE: An announcement by the Federal Government today confirmed that the proposal to open vast areas of the marine environment to the oil and gas industry off the famed Ningaloo World Heritage area (as well as Shark Bay and the Abrolhos Islands) has been scrapped. This decision comes after more than 30,000 people signed a letter opposing further oil and gas encroachment in the Ningaloo-Exmouth Gulf area, and detailed submissions that raised a host of concerns.

Protect Ningaloo Director, Paul Gamblin said, “The community should feel really good that its efforts have helped government reach the only sensible outcome which is not to open up areas off the Ningaloo World Heritage region to new oil and gas exploration. It’s a huge reprieve for this incredible area and its tourism industry.”

“However, the real test of government commitment to Ningaloo-Exmouth Gulf will be whether it responds to the call from tens of thousands of people to stop industrialisation at Exmouth Gulf from Subsea 7’s proposed massive oil and gas pipeline fabrication facility and towing operation.”

“The fact that the oil and gas industry nominated these new areas off Ningaloo in the first place shows it wants to expand south from the Pilbara into the Ningaloo-Exmouth Gulf area. On the back of today’s news, governments must now reassure the community and the tourism industry at Ningaloo that it will not impose the industrial-scale Subsea 7 oil and gas pipeline fabrication facility on this globally significant environment.”

Notes:

This is the map of the areas originally nominated (but rejected) off Ningaloo:

The map of the Federal Department’s acreage release today can be seen here.