The Federal Resources Minister Keith Pitt should give the Hunter and Central Coast communities an early Christmas present by saying no to Advent Energy’s proposed extension of its Petroleum Exploration Permit 11 (PEP-11).
Today marks 10 months since the current PEP-11 licence expired.
In February this year, Mr Pitt – who has the final say on whether the permit will be extended – said that he’d “prefer the decision was made soon”.
More than 300 days later, we are still none the wiser on the licence’s future.
This is a huge slap in the face to our community who have clearly and overwhelmingly voiced their opposition to PEP-11.
The proposed extension of the licence would allow oil and gas exploration drilling off the NSW coast from Port Stephens, Newcastle, the Central Coast, and Sydney for a further two years.
This would put at risk thousands of local jobs in tourism, hospitality, and recreational and commercial fishing.
Since the licence expired on 12 February, it has been in a rollover period meaning exploration can continue while Mr Pitt makes his decision.
During this time, Advent Energy has been actively preparing for the next phase of this project, including calling for tenders for drilling equipment.
The Prime Minister has come to the Hunter and Central Coast multiple times this year and said he opposes PEP-11.
Actions speak louder than words.
Not only has the Prime Minister failed to get his Resources Minister to put an end to PEP-11, in October his Government voted against allowing a debate on legislation which aimed to kill off this project.
This is a Government who says one thing to their constituents and does another in Parliament.
Labor has made our position clear: we stand with the local community in saying no to PEP-11.
This uncertainty has dragged on for far too long.
Minister Pitt needs to respect our community’s wishes, end the uncertainty, and say no to PEP-11 once and for all.