The Guardian: Great Australian Bight deserves world heritage protection – Greens

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Sarah Hanson-Young: BP decision means Great Australian Bight must be protected from future efforts to drill for oil


The Advertiser (Adelaide) ran an article by Sarah Hanson-Young pointing out that BP's recent withdrawal from the Great Australian Bight is not the end of the fight and that the Great Australian Bight should be given permanent protection.

"BP itself admitted that local job creation would be ‘negligible’ and that’s because almost all of the work would have gone to foreign labourers who were being readied to come here to do it on the cheap.

It’s disappointing that so many politicians have ignored the thousands of jobs that drilling for oil in the Great Australian Bight would have put at risk."


"The Great Australian Bight Marine Park needs to be permanently protected.

I recently moved in the Parliament to make that area off-limits to companies that want to drill for oil and gas.

I hope that all of my South Australian Senate colleagues put our state’s interests first and vote to protect the irreplaceable Great Australian Bight for generations to come."

Read the full article on here.

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Great Australian Bight Alliance booklet


The Bob Brown Foundation has produced a photo booklet (below) showing the rich habitat of the Great Australian Bight, and talks about the consequences of an oil spill from BP's giant oil rig.

Most of the photos are by Bob from his recent trip on the Sea Shepherd vessel "Steve Irwin".

The booklet is available for purchase here.

Please join the Coalition to Fight for the Bight. After all, action for Earth is much
more satisfying than just worrying about it. See you on the campaign trail.

Bob Brown


Mirning Traditional Owners
Clean Bight Alliance Australia (West Coast SA)
Oil Free Seas - Australia
Sea Shepherd Australia
Surfrider Foundation Australia
The Wilderness Society South Australia
Sea Shepherd UK
Australian Marine Conservation Society
Bob Brown Foundation
AYCC Australian Youth Climate Coalition


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Steve Irwin vessel returns from Great Australian Bight into Port Adelaide, encountering a place rich in beauty and biodiversity, worthy of World Heritage status

Media Release 19th August 2016

Arriving at Port Adelaide. Photo: Bill Doyle

Today the Steve Irwin vessel arrived into Port Adelaide as part of Sea Shepherd's Operation Jeedara, and the Great Australian Bight Alliance. This is the first time a Sea Shepherd vessel has come into port in South Australia. Operation Jeedara's mission is to showcase the beauty of the Bight, a place rich in beauty and biodiversity, to show what we would all loose if BP were allowed to drill for oil and cause a spill in waters deeper, rougher and more remote than the Gulf of Mexico.

"What we have witnessed and captured of the Great Australian Bight is nothing short of remarkable. Australians should be proud of the Bight, for its a grand wilderness of global significance that is on par with the Galapagos and with that, the Great Australian Bight is easily worthy of world heritage nomination and no place for BP's monster oil rig. Our job is to share the wonder and beauty of the Bight to all Australians and the world, for if they can care half as much about the Bight as we do, we hope they will unite with us with all they can to stop BP from putting the bight at risk, for loosing this battle against BP is not an option," Jeff Hansen, Expedition leader, Operation Jeedara, Bight defence campaign.

BP and the backers of this very risky venture are holding the Australian public to ransom with the notion of more jobs, however the reality is that even BP has stated in their own environment plan that jobs during the exploratory phase would be negligible and its worth noting that the company that has won the tender for the choppers in Ceduna is in fact a Texas based company. Many of the skilled workers on the rig would also come from outside of Australia. However, even taking away the environmental risk, what BP also threaten is more than $440 million dollars per year worth of fisheries employing thousands of workers and in excess of $1.2 billion dollars per year in tourism employing in excess of 10,000 people. Even purely from an economic sense, its not worth the risk," Mr Hansen concluded.

"The Great Australian Bight should be World Heritage: for its whale calving places, its seal colonies, its island banks lined with thousands of pelicans, other sea birds, its great white sharks, dolphins and healthy food chain, undersea canyons, cliffs, beaches and rich Aboriginal heritage. The real arbiter between this vision for Australia’s future and BP’s last century plan for a dangerous deep-sea oil exploration is our Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. In 2016, Mr Turnbull holds the fate of the Great Australian Bight’s natural life and beauty in his own hands," Bob Brown commented.

"It was a great honour to be asked by Jeff Hansen and Sea Shepherd to join the expedition concerning the preservation of the Great Southern Ocean and the Great Australian Bight. We began the journey at the Head of the Bight and I was mesmerized by the sight of 20-30 female Great Southern Right Whales with calves lavishing in the bay less than 100 meters from shore. It was quite obvious from the outset that this nursery, is and has been, there for eons. We then moved on to Isle of St Francis where we had the privilege of going to shore where Australian Sea Lion and Long Nose Fur Seals greeted us. What looked like a barren land from afar was lush with Cape Barren geese, parrots and a myriad of yellow and purple flowers covering the island. We then sailed on to Baird Bay where we had the privilege of swimming with sea lions in a pristine environment as if never touched by man at all," said Australian actor David Field.

"I’ve never really had the honour of visiting the Great Australian Bight and I am completely taken aback by the beauty of the coastline and marine life above and below the water. I have had the privilege to explore under the water at Folwers and Baird Bays and although everyone talks about the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef, from my experience, the Great Australian Bight should have the same levels of protection. People just don’t know what is available within these areas; tourists are sometimes lucky enough to stumble upon these places, which is good in a way, as the places remain remote. Part of our crew are from overseas, including myself, and it is ludicrous that a bunch of foreigners need to show the Australian Government the reasons why this area is so important to preserve for future generations," Captain Wyanda Lublink remarked.

“BP’s proposal to carry out deep sea drilling in the Great Australian Bight shows a complete disregard for all life on this planet. Risking one of the last great wilderness areas in a push to expand the fossil fuel industry is the height of irresponsibility. There is no alternative but to rapidly transition away from fossil fuels if we are to provide our children with a liveable climate. The Australian Government must serve the interests of the people it’s elected to represent, not overseas corporations. This is greed gone mad," said Wilderness Society South Australia Director Peter Owen.

Bunna Lawrie, Mirning Elder, "Our connection is very very important and it is vital to our elders and our traditional customs that we keep an ongoing duty and responsibility to preserve and protect. The Mirning people have cared for the greatest southern-right whale population for thousands of years. It is an ongoing friendship that we have, travelling as far as Antarctica and to New Zealand. We can not allow or permit for BP to drill here. We will fight and take legal action. The law wasn’t given for them to drill here; my grandfather did not give permission for this to occur. The imprints are left in the lands of the legend and the legacy, the great whale Jeedara. Our land is a living museum for us to share and enjoy, for all Australians and for future generations."

Though this will not be the completion of the Steve Irwin’s journey as part of Operation Jeedara, it will be an opportunity to showcase to the public the breathtaking footage we have captured thus far of the truly remarkable Great Australian Bight. There will be free public tours all weekend and all are welcome

To date we have visited the Pearson Island group, the Bunda cliffs, Nuyts Reef, Fowlers Bay, Head of the Bight, Isles of St Francis and Baird Bay. We have also had to endure some large seas, which further highlight the insanity of BP’s plans to drill for oil here, seas which are tame compared to the swells of 20 metres that can preside in the Bight.

Photo and video content:

Further background on campaign:



 About Sea Shepherd Australia

Sea Shepherd Australia is a non-profit conservation organisation whose mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species. Sea Shepherd Australia uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. By safeguarding the biodiversity of our delicately balanced oceanic ecosystems, Sea Shepherd Australia works to ensure their survival for future generations.

Visit for more information.

General media inquiries and interviews contact:

• Adam Burling, Sea Shepherd Australia media, +61 409472922

[email protected]

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Sea Shepherd's Steve Irwin returns to Port Adelaide

Sea Shepherds Steve Irwin approaching Port Adelaide in this morning's wintry squall.

Photo: Bob Brown

Arriving at Port Adelaide.

IMG_4325.jpgPhoto: Jenny Weber
Photo: Bill Doyle

Jeff Hansen, Bunna Lawrie, Peter Owen, Bob Brown arriving at Port Adelaide.

Photo: Bill Doyle
Photo: Jenny Weber
Photo: Jenny Weber

Crew arrived.

Photo: Tim Watters
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Imagine a BP oil spill a la the Gulf of Mexico here

Imagine a BP oil spill a la the Gulf of Mexico here in this directly-in-line coast of South Australia!

Photo: Bob Brown


...or here... (these are endangered Australian sea lions)...

Photo: Bob Brown


...or right here... (southern right whale and calf at Head of the Bight 2 days ago) ...

Photo: Bob Brown


... or even here (Sea Shepherd's Steve Irwin in background).

An island of seals. A Gulf-style oil spill here would be disastrous.

Photo: Bob Brown

An Australian sea lion - I kept my distance!

Photo: Bob Brown

Please join our campaign to keep the Bight BP free!

Best wishes, Bob Brown.


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Dolphins at play

Dolphins play at bow of Steve Irwin (at 8.3 knots) this a.m.

Keep this Great Australian Bight free of BP's oil rig threat!

Bob Brown

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Bob Brown in the Great Australian Bight

I am aboard the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin. We are looking at the islands and mainland shores of South Australia which are closest to where BP plans to drill down through 2000 metres of water and then 3000 metres of the seabed to explore for oil: smack in the middle of the Great Australian Bight.

The Bight is one of the most intact natural ecosystems left on Earth. BP's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico a few years back was the worst on Earth. Such a spill here would wreck the South Australian, Victorian and Tasmanian (including Tarkine) coastlines.

Here are a few photographs of places in the Bight which BP's rig would threaten. Please join our campaign to keep the Bight BP free!

Best wishes, Bob Brown.

Fenelon Island (part of the Nutys Archipelago Marine Park)
Fenelon Island (part of the Nutys Archipelago Marine Park). Photo: Bob Brown


The Bunda Cliffs of the Nullarbor Plain west of Ceduna
The Bunda Cliffs of the Nullarbor Plain west of Ceduna. Photo: Bob Brown


Flowering Pink Lace on the island
Flowering Pink Lace on the island. Photo: Bob Brown


Look out Here I come!
Look out Here I come!. Photo: Bob Brown


Australian sea lions of St Francis Islands, Great Australian Bight
Australian sea lions of St Francis Islands, Great Australian Bight. Photo: Bob Brown
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Great Australian Bight oil rigs would significantly increase spill risk – report

screenshot.jpg has an article on a report by the South Australian planning department.

Plans to drill for oil in the pristine Great Australian Bight marine park will significantly increase the risk of oil spills, both from the oil rigs and the increased shipping traffic, according to a report by the South Australian planning department.

In an updated plan for how the government would handle an oil spill, the department included a specific note about increased risks posed by plans for extensive oil exploration in the Great Australian Bight.


In 2010, BP was responsible for the world’s largest oil spill – the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico – which occurred in calmer and more shallow waters than those in the Bight.

BP hasn’t released modelling of the impacts of an oil spill...


Read the full article in here.

This part is interesting background from the related article in here.


The Great Australian Bight Commonwealth Marine Park was created in 2005 and extended in 2012 to become part of the Great Australian Bight Commonwealth Marine Reserve.

When the Abbott government was elected, they began a “review” of the marine parks, which suspended the implementation of their management, making the parks mostly meaningless.


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Mother and baby Southern Right Whales, Great Australian Bight

Southern Right Whales. Photo: Bob Brown

Imagine these Southern Right Whales if BP's planned oil rig in the Great Australian Bight spilled. Help keep the GAB BP-free!

Bob Brown

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