Prime Minister hands down final decision on controversial Pep11

The Prime Minister has handed down the final decision on the controversial Pep11 project.

The controversial Petroleum Exploration Permit would have seen gas and oil drilling go ahead off the coastline between Newcastle and Woolongong.

Pep11 was granted under the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act but was met with fierce opposition from local communities.

The Morrison Government has advised NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole as the joint authority partner, as well as the National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator (NOPTA), of the Commonwealth’s intention to refuse the application.

“This project will not proceed on our watch,” the Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

“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.”

“From Newcastle through to Wollongong my Government has listened to the concerns of local Liberal Members and candidates and their communities and we’re putting our foot down.”

PEP-11 is located primarily in Commonwealth waters off the NSW coast between Newcastle and Wollongong and covers approximately 8,200 m2.

The Government refused the application due to the community opposition, the Government said they also weren’t satisfied the applicant would be able to raise sufficient funding required to progress the work program in a timely manner and in the timeframe of the permit conditions and they simply didn’t agree with the reasons the applicant listed for the extension.

NOPTA, as the regulator, will grant the applicant 30 days to respond to the notice of intention to refuse the application.

It’s fair to say the Liberal party’s candidates for the upcoming Federal election are pleased with the decision.

“The Prime Minister first expressed his opposition to the PEP11 project during a visit to Paterson. This shows how crucial our region was to the PM’s decision and I’m pleased that in making this decision he has again put the people of the Hunter first. This is a decision I not only strongly support but it’s one that reflects the broader view of the Port Stephens community.,” said Liberal candidate for Paterson Brooke Vitnell.

“I am so very grateful to Prime Minister Scott Morrison for this decision. I’m sure my delight is shared by everyone in Shortland and the entire Hunter region who enjoy our magnificent beaches and lakes,” Liberal candidate for Shortland Nell McGill said.

Image credit: Jessica Rouse