Conservation groups and Margaret River locals have used the opportunity provided by the community cabinet meeting in Como last night to protest against plans for a new oil lease just 83kms from Margaret River, and to demonstrate the strong community support for greater protection of marine life in marine sanctuaries.
The new Margaret River Oil Lease is within an area also under consideration by the Federal Government for inclusion in a new network of marine sanctuaries.
Rob Alder made the trip from Margaret River to the event to present an invitation for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Ministers Garrett and Ferguson to visit the pristine southwest beaches that would be impacted by an oil spill in the new Margaret River Oil Lease. The invitation was personally delivered to Minister Garrett by Piers Verstegen, Director of the Conservation Council of WA.
Mr Alder said in a letter of invitation, “We invite the Resources Minister, Environment Minister, and Prime Minister to personally visit to feel the character of the area, witness the pristine beaches and sample our local produce and hospitality; all of which would be threatened by any development of the Margaret River Oil Lease.”
At the event he reiterated the campaign message: No Oil for SW Beaches, No Wellhead for our Seabed!
The Conservation Council is a member of the Save Our Marine Life campaign for a network of large marine sanctuaries in WA’s southwest waters. Conservation Council Director Piers Verstegen met with Minister Garrett to outline that with decreasing fish stocks for recreational fishermen, and the threat posed by the new Margaret River Oil Lease, marine protection was an increasingly important issue in the WA community.
Tim Nicol, spokesperson for the Conservation Council of WA’s Save Our Marine Life Campaign said, “less than 1% of WA’s marine environment is protected yet 20% of our marine environment is locked up in oil exploration and production leases. We need a network of marine sanctuaries to protect our unique marine life and the beach, fishing and seafood lifestyle we all enjoy.”
During the community cabinet meeting a question on marine protection in WA from the floor attracted applause from the crowd.