Source: Gabriella Marchant, ABC news
More than 100 activists have braved the chilly waters off Oslo in a paddle-out protest against oil drilling proposed for the Great Australian Bight.
Norwegian oil company Equinor wants to search for oil off the coast of South Australia by the end of 2020, but needs approval from the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) to begin.
Local Norwegians joined an Australian delegation of Indigenous and environmental activists who had flown in to protest ahead of Equinor's annual general meeting in Oslo on Wednesday.
Organiser Peter Dawson told the ABC it was the largest paddle-out demonstration ever held in Norway, even though the water was only 8 degrees Celsius.
“It was incredibly moving and heartening to see Norwegians not only paddling side by side with Australians, but chanting ‘fight for the Bight’ as loud as they possibly could,” the Wiradjuri man said.
“I was in the water, surrounded by hundreds of Norwegian surfers splashing and chanting, with Mirning Aboriginal elder Bunna Lawrie in the centre, singing in his traditional language.”
The Norwegian Government has a 67 per cent majority stake in Equinor.
"Norwegians are concerned that their state-owned oil company is planning to drill in a pristine marine wilderness area in Australia despite the obvious risks and the widespread community opposition," Mr Dawson said.
Mirning people are the traditional owners of the land that borders the Bight, and Mr Lawrie met with Norwegian indigenous Sami people, to discuss their shared experiences with the industry in the two countries.
"The message to Equinor today was clear: this is the wrong project at the wrong time in history," Mr Dawson said.
"The Bight is an utterly inappropriate place for risky deep-sea oil drilling and we can't be opening up new frontier oil fields while the world's scientists are telling us we need to transition away from fossil fuels."
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