Surfers push on with their ‘Fight for The Bight’
COFFS Coast Surfriders is calling for anyone who cares about the ocean to take a stand against drilling for oil in the Great Australian Bight and paddle out as part of a national day of action this Saturday.
Due to the prediction of strong northerly winds the paddle will take place inside the jetty across from the Coffs Harbour Yacht club.
The Fight for The Bight campaign aims to protect the iconic Great Australian Bight from offshore oil drilling.
It's the extension of a national strategy to oppose the Norwegian mining giant Equinor who has once again been forced to resubmit their plan to drill for oil in The Bight. They have until November 29 to do so.
"The exploratory well, due to be drilled in 2020, will be the deepest offshore well in Australian waters and one of the most remote in the world. It is frontier drilling by a foreign company and as an experimental process there are no guarantees it can be done safely," Lilli Nicolson from the Coffs Coast Surfrider branch said.
"Surfrider Foundation Australia has for almost 30 years been at the forefront of ocean conservation, protection and resisting threats to our coastline.
"It's time the Federal Government followed the courageous and wise decision of New Zealand and ban all offshore drilling projects. If New Zealand can imagine a healthy economy without fossil fuels why the hell can't we?"
President of the Coffs Boardriders, Lee Winkler, is shocked by the risk of an oil disaster in one of Australia's last surfing wildernesses and will be at the paddle out.
"Australians have made it clear that we do not want our way of life risked by yet another profit-driven fossil fuel project. Coffs Harbour Boardriders is joining with other Boardrider clubs from Sawtell, Woolgoolga and the Bodyboarding Association calling on Equinor to remove their licence. We're calling on all surfers to join us on Saturday and say No Way Equinor."
National Fight for The Bight co-ordinator and Valla local, Heath Joske, is also planning on being on the Coffs Coast for the event.
"The national action on Saturday is calling for a moratorium on all offshore oil drilling and seismic testing in Australian waters. Out of the 10 exploration licences in The Bight, six have been returned to the Australian government. Equinor has two of the remaining licences and we are calling on Equinor to do the right thing and relinquish their licences to the government".
Coffs Coast Surfriders attracted more than 150 locals in May at a previous paddle out and is aiming for that number to double. You can join the event this Saturday at 10am, Jetty beach in front of the Yacht Club.