December 16, 2021

RICHARD KING, PRESENTER: Well the subject of PEP-11, we’ve spoken ad infinitum to a number of local MPs, Angus Taylor the Energy Minister on numerous occasions. I’ve spoken with the Prime Minister Scott Morrison who has expressed and in actual fact it was very early in the year that PEP-11 should not be renewed. In fact, most recently he had this to say:

GRAB OF SCOTT MORRISON: Well I think people know my view about this. It’s very clear and I can assure you that that’s the position that I will continue to progress and I think that should give people a lot of comfort that the Prime Minister is not supportive of that. 

KING: Well and apparently, I don’t know who made the call, Keith Pitt was the Minister responsible. He’s a Cabinet Minister, our Resources Minister, and on numerous occasions and certainly Angus Taylor has said ‘look, the final call is with Keith’. Given that the thing expired back in February, I think everyone was a little surprised that it’s taken so long. But it’s finally happened. Apparently the PM did ring Paul Toole, the Deputy Premier of New South Wales as well as the National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator to say ‘nup, it will definitely not be going ahead and it won’t be renewed’, and certainly plenty of people are happy about that.

One is the Member for Shortland, Pat Conroy. He’s on the line, good morning Pat. 

PAT CONROY, MEMBER FOR SHORTLAND: Morning Richard, how are you? 

KING: Good thanks. Good news, when did you find out about this? 

CONROY: I found out this morning when I read the newspapers to be honest, but I am delighted. This is a victory for the thousands of community campaigners who have been fighting this tooth and nail, and it’s a victory for local political leaders, particularly the Independents and the Labor Party who have been dead opposed to this from day one. And it’s a victory for our entire region, so it’s good news.

KING: I know Zali Steggall, the Independent Member for Warringah, I think it was back in August, she launched a Bill to cancel the controversial permit. That didn’t get too far did it?

CONROY: No, well I seconded it, and the Government voted it down which caused huge anger. So they’ve had 300 days of this licence sitting on Keith Pitt’s desk where they could have put our community out of the limbo we’ve been in and they haven’t, and a cynic has to conclude that they have finally made the right decision for the wrong reason which is they feared they’d lose seats if they didn’t block PEP-11.

But it’s good news. We should welcome it, and it’s a demonstration that communities when they are united and fighting for a just cause can win through.

KING: Hear, hear, and I believe they do have an opportunity to appeal, I think it’s Advent Energy who currently hold, well they don’t hold the licence do they? It expired in February. But the PM is quoted in – and I am reading the Central Coast Express Advocate that put the story up, it was just before midnight – quote the PM “gas is an important part of Australia’s current and future energy mix, but this is not the right project for these communities and pristine beaches and waters”. Hallelujah! Very happy about that. Some good news just before Christmas, Pat.

CONROY: Absolutely. I welcome it. It shouldn’t have taken 300 days. If you think at the height of the COVID lockdown, beaches were one of the few places that people could get to and people were really worried. They were looking out at that pristine environment worried whether we’d have oil and gas rigs dotting the horizon. And so I would have loved for them to have done the right thing 10 months ago, but they’ve done the right thing now, and that’s good and we should welcome it.

KING: Hear, hear. Alright, and once again, have a great Christmas and all the best for the New Year Pat.

CONROY: You too Richard, to you and your listeners.