GREENS MOTION: World Heritage Protection for the Great Australian Bight - passes Upper House

Today Mark's motion regarding world heritage protection for the Great Australian Bight was brought to a vote. It was passed in an amended form, despite opposition from the Marshall Liberal Government.

The final words of the motion are reproduced below

The Hon. M.C. PARNELL: I will sum up very briefly, given the hour. First of all, I thank the Hon. Tammy Franks, the Hon. Frank Pangallo, the Hon. Ian Hunter and the Hon. Michelle Lensink for speaking. In relation to the Hon. Michelle Lensink's issue with late-breaking amendments, I would point out that I have been with her on that debate very often. However, this is a motion, not a late-breaking amendment to a bill. All of the amendments commenced with the word 'notes'. The action item has not changed. The action item is: 'We as a state are going to join and call on the federal government to try to get this world heritage thing happening.'

All that the amendments did was set out what I thought were some indisputable facts that relate to the area. So I cannot see that there was any great harm done in that. As the Hon. Michelle Lensink said, they were going to oppose the original action item anyway, which was to call on the state government to work with the federal government to seek world heritage listing. So no harm has been done. I just wanted to put that on the record. Given the numbers, it looks like this motion will pass. I am very grateful for that, and I will finish with this line: the only people who should be drilling in our Bight are dentists.

Amendment carried; motion as amended carried.

That this council—

1. Notes that the Great Australian Bight (GAB) is an area of significant importance for many marine species, including southern right whales and blue whales;

2. Notes that South Australia's clean waters are home to some of the world's most sought after seafood, including rock lobster, tuna, oysters and prawns;

3. Notes that the protection of our aquatic environment through our environmental monitoring, aquatic animal health programs and strict zoning requirements ensures South Australian seafood retains a high standard of environmental credentials;

4. Notes that the commonwealth government is the decision-making authority in relation to oil and gas mining activities in the Great Australian Bight;

5. Notes that the commonwealth government has issued the current exploration permits and the approval process is overseen by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Agency (NOPSEMA);

6. Notes that any negative impacts of oil and gas exploration in the pristine waters of the Great Australian Bight are unacceptable and South Australia recognises the risk that any potential environmental incident may have on our coastline, our tourism industry and our fishing industry.

7. Calls on the state government to work with the federal government to seek listing under the World Heritage Convention of the waters, seabed and coastline of the Great Australian Bight as a matter of urgency.