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6 Jun 2024

Ocean protection in discussion during visit │Eyre Peninsula Advocate

The environment, agriculture, the fishing industry and tourism were key topics of discussion across Eyre Peninsula when Liberal Senator for South Australia Andrew McLachlan recently visited the region.

Senator McLachlan met with locals and business operators in Port Lincoln, Tumby Bay, Venus Bay, Elliston and Streaky Bay.

He said it was “fantastic” to visit Eyre Peninsula and hear from locals and how all levels of government could better deliver for their community.

“Of greatest concern amongst the people and groups I spoke to, was the preservation of our pristine oceans,” Senator McLachlan said.

“Representatives from the fishing industry expressed to me their concerns about seismic testing and its potential effects on marine life and fish stocks. The fishing industry is vital to the economy of the Eyre Peninsula.

“We must ensure that we are not enabling human activities that may be negatively affecting marine life. I am very committed to advocating on behalf of the industry, to ensure best of-practise regulations are in place to reduce any impacts.”

Another topic of conversation centred on greater protection for the Great Australian Bight.

“Many of those whom I met with were also in favour of greater environmental protections in the Great Australian Bight, following Equinor’s decision to abandon its plans for deepwater drilling in the marine park in 2020,” Senator McLachlan said.

“Given the Bight’s biodiversity, there are important conversations that must be had about how to best protect this amazing environment.

“A form of heritage protection is one important option.”

For much of the journey Senator McLachlan was accompanied by Surfers for Climate chief executive officer Josh Kirkman.

Surfers for Climate is an Australian charity dedicated to helping coastal communities learn about and take climate action and was inspired by the collective power of surfers in the successful Fight for the Bight campaign in South Australia.

“It was wonderful to hit the road with Senator McLachlan along the Great Australian Bight. The opportunity to revisit the area where communities of ocean lovers stood up against oil drilling and really provided the spark that created Surfers for

Climate was a privilege,” Mr Kirkman said.

“The Great Australian Bight is a coastal area of Australia that is abundant and worth protecting from future threats of resource extraction.

“I know that the individuals we met along the coast were particularly appreciative of Senator McLachlan taking the time to sit, listen and share ideas how best to manage and protect this beautiful part of Australia.”

Senator McLachlan said it was imperative that governments of all persuasions made informed policy decisions regarding the future of Australian oceans.

“We cannot live and thrive without healthy oceans. We all have a moral obligation to do all that we can to pass on this natural inheritance to future generations,” he said.

“There is much more to be done to ensure that our oceans remain healthy; whether this is reducing plastic waste and improving our recycling, or making legislative change in respect to activities like seismic testing and drilling.”

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