Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Bight Petroleum to be subject to strict environment assessment

Media release
30 May 2013

Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, has determined that the Bight Petroleum Pty Ltd proposed three-dimensional marine seismic survey in the Bight Basin will need a full federal environmental assessment.

Mr Burke said the proposal will now go through the rigorous controlled action assessment process to ensure it does not pose any unacceptable risks to our oceans.

"This Government has made it clear that we won't take risks with our precious oceans," Mr Burke said.

"The survey area is recognised as known foraging habitat for blue and sperm whales, and will overlap with the migratory period of the southern right whale.

"The project will require further detailed, technical assessment of the potential impacts on nationally protected matters, including listed threatened species, listed migratory species and the environment of the Commonwealth marine area."

The assessment and approval process set out under national environment law is open and thorough, and takes into account expert scientific advice and public comments on proposed actions.

"Once the assessment process is complete I will carefully consider the assessment, the advice of my department, and all public comments received before deciding whether this proposal can go ahead," Mr Burke said.

Bight Petroleum Pty Ltd proposes to undertake a marine seismic survey covering an area up to approximately 3000 square kilometres across the Commonwealth Petroleum Exploration Permit Areas EPP-41 & EPP-42.

The survey area lies in the Commonwealth marine waters of the Great Australian Bight with the nearest point of the survey area located approximately 68 kilometres south of the Eyre Peninsula and 104 kilometres west of Kangaroo Island.

Further information is available at http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/epbc/epbc_ap.pl?name=current_referral_detail&proposal_id=6770.