Sharkie creates waves in Norwegian Parliament

Fighting for the Bight: Member for Mayo, Rebekha Sharkie has taken her fight for the Great Australian Bight to the Norwegian Parliament.
Fighting for the Bight: Member for Mayo, Rebekha Sharkie has taken her fight for the Great Australian Bight to the Norwegian Parliament.

Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie has written to all 169 Members of the Norwegian Parliament to advise them of opposition within the electorate to Norwegian oil giant Equinor's proposal to drill for deep-sea oil in the Great Australian Bight.

"The Government of Norway is the majority shareholder of Equinor and in the past this company has stated they will not operate in our waters without social licence," said Ms Sharkie.

"Despite all the polling and all the community protests, Equinor appears to be ignoring the overwhelming public sentiment across southern Australia."

Ms Sharkie said she understood the issue of drilling in the Bight had gained public attention in Norway because of serious questions concerning the long-term viability of investment in fossil fuels.

"The time is right to bring our deep community opposition to exploration and drilling in the Bight to the attention of Norway's political leaders," she said.

Currently, 15 councils in South Australia and Victoria have resolved motions which oppose or raise concerns over drilling in the Bight.

These include the councils of Victor Harbor, Kangaroo Island, Yankalilla, Alexandrina and Onkaparinga.

Polling by the Australian Institute in Mayo in June 2018 showed 73.9 per cent of respondents supported World Heritage Protection for the Bight, 12.5 per cent opposed protection and 13.6 per cent were unsure.

In her letter to Norwegian parliamentarians, Ms Sharkie included spill modelling maps and said deep-sea drilling in the Bight posed a "real and significant threat" to the marine environment, the animals that lived in that environment and the livelihoods of Australian communities.

"Norway's current reputation in Australia is as a progressive country with a strong record of thinking strategically and co-operatively about the future of the world in which we live," she wrote. Ms Sharkie's letters have since picked up attention in the Norwegian media.

"We have so much to lose," she said.

"In the absence of strong leadership from the two major political parties in Australia, I implore you and your Government, as Equinor's predominant shareholder, to direct the company to discontinue its risky pursuit of drilling for fossil fuels in the the Great Australian Bight," wrote Ms Sharkie in her letter.