The WA Minister for Environment, Hon. Stephen Dawson, has confirmed that the Subsea 7 pipeline fabrication facility earmarked for Exmouth Gulf, Ningaloo has been put on hold. Furthermore, in recognition of the potential impacts of development proposals on Exmouth Gulf, the Minister has instructed the WA Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to undertake a broad assessment of Exmouth Gulf, due in mid-2021.
Protect Ningaloo Director, Paul Gamblin said, “We think the case to stop the controversial Subsea 7 oil and gas pipeline facility dead in its tracks is clear. However, we welcome this decision to delay the consideration of the project by at least a year while a wider assessment is undertaken because any independent scientific review would show emphatically that Exmouth Gulf should not be industrialised.
“We believe this new broad EPA assessment will reiterate previous scientific work and confirm Exmouth Gulf’s global importance and that its future lies in tourism, research and education, and not heavy industry.
“The Government’s recognition today of Exmouth Gulf’s natural values and the threats posed by development is vindication of the grassroots community campaign to protect Exmouth Gulf, Ningaloo from industrialisation. While postponing the decision is better than imminent construction of the Subsea 7 project, in reality, the community faces further uncertainty.
“Notably, the Government’s press release also mentioned a new threat to Exmouth Gulf, which is cloaked in secrecy. Little is publicly known about the ‘Gascoyne Gateway Cruise and Multi-Use Marine Facility’ and the project’s own website is protected by a password. The Government needs immediately to share with the public what it knows of this project and what its status is.
“We look forward to hearing more of the detail about this new EPA assessment of Exmouth Gulf and the opportunities for public participation. We know there will be a lot of interest.”