The Senate will shine a much-needed spotlight on BP's plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight after it voted for an inquiry into the matter. The inquiry will report back by May 12.
The Senate's Environment and Communications References Committee will look into the potential environmental, social and economic impacts of BP's planned exploratory oil drilling project and any future oil or gas production in the Great Australian Bight.
Australia's offshore oil and gas authority has already rejected BP's first application to drill four exploration wells in the Bight because of inadequacies in its plans, saying BP needs a comprehensive risk assessment and oil pollution emergency plan.
On 22 February 2016, the Senate referred the following matter for inquiry:
The potential environmental, social and economic impacts of BP’s planned exploratory oil drilling project, and any future oil or gas production in the Great Australian Bight, with particular reference to:
a) the effect of a potential drilling accident on marine and coastal ecosystems, including:
i. impacts on existing marine reserves within the Bight,
ii. impacts on whale and other cetacean populations, and
iii. impacts on the marine environment,
b) social and economic impacts, including effects on tourism, commercial fishing activities and other regional industries;
c) current research and scientific knowledge;
d) the capacity, or lack thereof, of government or private interests to mitigate the effect of an oil spill; and
e) any other related matters.
The closing date for submissions is 1 April 2016.
Committee Secretariat contact details
Committee Secretary Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications
PO Box 6100 Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600
Phone: (02) 6277 3526
Fax: (02) 6277 5818
About this inquiry
An inquiry into the potential impacts of BP’s planned exploratory oil drilling project and any future oil or gas production in the Great Australian Bight.
How to make a submission
The committee invites individuals and organisations to send in their opinions and proposals in writing (submissions)
If you would like help in preparing your own submission - see "How to make a submission to a Senate Inquiry"
If you require any special arrangements to enable you to participate in the Committee's inquiry, please contact the Committee Secretariat. Further information regarding accessibility can be found at http://www.aph.gov.au/Help/Accessibility