Surfers show solidarity against Equinor's plans to drill Great Australian Bight

Surfers of all ages conducted a peaceful protest at Kiama Harbour before paddling out to show solidarity as they joined a nationwide campaign against drilling for oil in the Great Australian Bight.

About 100 protesters, including organisers Rusty Moran and Chris Homer of the Surfrider Foundation and Gilmore Greens candidate Carmel McCallum, got together to protest against Norwegian oil company Equinor and its plans to exploratory drill off the southern coastline of mainland Australia.

Surfrider Foundation South Coast Branch delegate Rusty Moran spoke to the group, outlining the risks drilling poses to the Bight. The company's proposed Stromlo-1 well would be located 372km off the coast of South Australia and 476km west of Port Lincoln.

"If we weigh it up on balance, here's the upside - they're potentially going to drill for 40 years and create 1500 jobs," he said.

"But, the downside is, if they have a spill which is pretty damn likely over 40 years, it will be the same sort of magnitude of the gulf of Mexico spill which BP caused in 2010.

"That killed 11 platform workers and it spilled [the equivalent of] 62,000 barrels [of oil] a day for 87 days. That's five million barrels of oil and it took them six years to clean it up and the clean up cost $65 billion US dollars.

"They used detergent to break down the oil. That detergent was between 5 to 60 times more toxic than the oil for the marine life."

The civil engineer said a CSIRO report from 2011 had compelling data about the marine life which would be seriously affected in the event of an oil spill.

"That study discovered 277 new marine species, which had never been discovered anywhere in the world. 85 per cent of the marine species they identified in the bight do not exist anywhere else in the world."

Mr Moran praised the supporters who attended the protest and those with intentions, particularly families who had Saturday morning sport commitments. Kiama councillors were invited, but none attended, he said.

He plans to submit a petition to Kiama council calling on it stand with other Australian councils who are against Equinor's plans.

Similarly more than 250 Milton-Ulladulla residents held a Hands Across the Sand protest at South Mollymook on Saturday. They will also submit a petition to Shoalhaven City Council in the coming weeks.

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