Labor to investigate impacts of potential Bight oil spill if elected

Environmentally conscious: Labor's Candidate for Mayo, Saskia Gerhardy is backing Bill Shorten's commitment for an independent study into the potential impacts of an oil spill in the Bight.

Environmentally conscious: Labor's Candidate for Mayo, Saskia Gerhardy is backing Bill Shorten's commitment for an independent study into the potential impacts of an oil spill in the Bight.

If elected, Bill Shorten's Labor Party has committed to an independent scientific study into the potential impact of an oil spill in the Great Australian Bight.

The comes following ongoing national protests against Norwegian oil giant Equinor's plans to drill in the Bight.

This week, a delegation from the Great Australian Bight Alliance travelled to Norway to raise their concerns at Equinor's AGM, whilst also engaging in a 500-person paddle out protest in Oslo's harbour.

Labor's Candidate for Mayo, Saskia Gerhardy said the Great Australian Bight was one of South Australia's greatest natural treasures and loved by many across the nation.

"Having seen much of our sealife firsthand, it's a love that I share," she said.

"So, it is unsurprising the prospect of drilling in the Bight for oil has raised significant community concern, which we have seen evidenced in demonstrations across the country.

"As a local and an environmental educator myself, I am delighted, as I am sure many other Mayo voters are, that Bill Shorten has taken a personal interest in the Bight."

South Australian Labor Senator, Penny Wong, has also previously voiced concerns over the potential environmental effects of an oil spill in the Bight.

Ms Gerhardy said it was reasonable that the Prime Minister of the day, who the polls are tipping to be Bill Shorten next week, would want to be fully informed about the potential impacts of an oil spill.

"It is, of course, important to recognise no approval has been granted for drilling in the Bight and there is only one proposal [Equinor's] for exploratory drilling currently being assessed by the independent regulator," she said.

"The purpose of Labor's oil spill study will be to help inform the decision making of the independent regulator.

"It will be an independent scientific study, and we will determine details of who undertakes it if elected. Our study will increase the capacity of the independent regulator to properly make an assessment in accordance with the law.

"Every resources project needs to stack up environmentally and financially and Labor will not be waiving any of the strict standards the law requires."