Locals fight Equinor in Australia

Great Australian Bight., EquinorSeals on a beach in the Great Australian Bight. Photo: Scott Bilby

Locals fight Equinor in the Great Australian Bight

First interstate council joins South Australian councils voicing concerns on oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight. Several international companies, including Equinor (Statoil) and BP, are involved in the project.


  • Victoria’s Moyne Council (Port Fairy) demands consultation on Bight oil drilling proposals
  • 11 SA local governments now oppose Bight oil exploration, representing 540,000 residents
  • The opposition has jumped since Kangaroo Island Mayor fronted Statoil-Equinor AGM

The first interstate council has weighed in on oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight after 11 South Australian local governments have voted their opposition to risky ultra-deepwater drilling in Australia’s southern seas.

Victoria’s Moyne Council, centred on the tourist hotspot of Port Fairy, passed a motion on Monday expressing its concerns about oil exploration in the Bight and asking Norwegian oil giant Equinor (formerly Statoil) and relevant federal ministers to be included in any consultation over any proposals.

Eleven South Australian coastal local governments representing 540,000 people have now flexed their muscle voting to oppose oil and gas exploration in the Great Australian Bight.

Kangaroo Island

Local government opposition has stepped up dramatically since Kangaroo

Island Mayor Peter Clements fronted the Statoil-Equinor annual general meeting in Norway in May to ask the company to drop its Bight plans. Shortly after, South Australia’s biggest council, Onkaparinga City, voted its opposition followed by the state’s third biggest council, City of Port Adelaide Enfield, last month.

Wilderness Society South Australia Director Peter Owen said: “The opposition to oil and gas exploration in the Great Australian Bight is escalating rapidly, with 11 South Australian local governments representing more than half a million residents now opposed, and now interstate councils are demanding to be consulted.

Five South Australian councils

Five South Australian councils – Port Adelaide, West Torrens, Onkaparinga, Marion and Alexandrina – have passed resolutions opposing oil and gas in the Bight since May when Kangaroo Island Mayor Peter Clements travelled to Statoil-Equinor’s AGM in Norway to ask the oil giant to drop its plans to drill in the Bight.

“In May more than a thousand people lined the shores across Australia to oppose offshore oil and gas exploration and calling Statoil-Equinor to drop its Bight plans at Hands Across the Sands events from New South Wales right across to Western Australia. About 500 people attended the Adelaide event at Semaphore Beach while 300 turned up to the Port Fairy event.

“Will Statoil-Equinor defy this huge community opposition to push ahead with risky ultra-deepwater drilling in the pristine waters of the Great Australian Bight?”

The Moyne Council motion states: “That Moyne Shire Council acknowledges concerns regarding deep sea oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight and commits to writing to Equinor and the relevant Federal minister to request a full consultation from Equinor in relation to the development of its proposed Environmental Plan.


© The Wilderness Society / #Norway Today