Hands join against seismic testing

Protest at Nobby's Beach, Newcastle. Photo: Protect Our Coast Alliance/FB

Hundreds of people gathered on northern Sydney, Central Coast and Hunter beaches to protest the resumption of seismic testing in early May.

Oil and gas company Asset Energy wants to blast its way across 1600 square kilometres of offshore seabed. Its Petroleum Exploration Permit 11 covers 4500 square kilometres of the coast north of Sydney harbour.

The exploration involves firing soundwaves to assess the ocean floor geology. The resulting sonic booms will potentially affect the navigation of dolphins and whales and impact on marine ecosystems.

If the testing is positive offshore oil rigs will dot a large section of the NSW coastline and place an already fragile coastline at risk of ecological disaster should a spill occur.

The protests involved people joining hands and linking up across the sand.

At Nobbys beach in Newcastle on May 5, the line stretched from the surf house to the headland. A similar action was held on Central Coast’s Umina beach the same day. Hundreds turned out on Manly beach in Sydney on May 12.

The protests were part of a national day of action against offshore fossil fuels and included communities in South Australia and Victoria concerned about the threat of big oil in the Great Australian Bight.

At the Newcastle action, Save Our Coast Alliance spokesperson Elle Lawless called on local MP and Labor candidate Sharon Grierson to “listen to her community” and come out clearly against the resumption of seismic testing.

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