Community leaders joined forces over the weekend, calling for World Heritage listing of the Great Australian Bight to prevent oil drilling.
Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young, Mayo candidate Rebekha Sharkie and Ben Oquist from The Australia Institute announced the joint campaign after a poll revealed 73.9 per cent of Mayo residents were in support of the heritage listing.
“The vast majority of South Australians, like the people of Mayo, want World Heritage Protection for the Bight. The Premier and Prime Minister should start preparing the nomination process,” Ms Hanson-Young said at the launch.
Mayor of Kangaroo Island Peter Clements crossed the passage to join the action, just weeks after he travelled to Norway to protest oil giant Statoil’s plans to drill.
He joined Victor Harbor mayor Graham Philp in representing the Fleurieu councils who have spoken out against oil drilling.
At the launch, Greens candidate for Mayo Major ‘Moogy’ Sumner AM said he would fight for World Heritage protection for the Bight if elected to the lower house.
“We must protect our water ways, transition away from fossil fuels, and preserve the Bight for generations to come,” he said.
“We have the opportunity to do that now, with strong Greens representatives fighting for World Heritage protection.”
Ms Sharkie said the campaign was not about politics.
“This about protecting a pristine environment of high biodiversity, as well as our economy,” she said.
“Imagine what would happen if there was a major oil spill? The fishing industry, the tourism industry - every fish and chip shop, every bed and breakfast would be affected.”
Institute executive director Ben Oquist said the company’s poll was conducted to ascertain whether the community was aware of the economic and environmental threats of oil drilling.
“Our results show that people value protecting the Bight so much that they want World Heritage protection,” Ben said.