No Seismic Blasting, No Oil & Gas Rigs in our Seas

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The Victorian Greens have joined hundreds of community members in a paddle-out off Warrnambool to oppose seismic blasting and fossil fuel extraction in the Otway Basin.  

The Greens say until the Victorian Labor Government bans oil and gas exploration off Victoria’s coast, the state’s precious waterways and marine life will be at risk of irreparable harm.

On Sunday, Victorian Greens MLC for Western Victoria Sarah Mansfield and Deputy Leader Ellen Sandell joined community calls to block two major seismic blasting projects from big tech companies CGG and TGS.

Along with organisers from OCEAN, Surfrider and Australian Marine Conservation Society, Ms Mansfield and Ms Sandell both paddled out from the Warrnambool breakwater on surfboards and gathered around a large, floating ‘stop seismic blasting’ banner. 

Both Greens MPs addressed the rally, calling for the protection of our coastal ecosystems from all new fossil fuel projects.

Community opposition has centred on the negative local and global impacts of seismic blasting, while no public benefit can be expected from the projects. 

The damage to our environment from such projects is twofold: the impact on marine life, and the global heating effects that are a direct consequence of fossil fuel extraction. 

The Greens are proud to stand with the First Nations people and alongside thousands of regional Victorians who are determined to conserve our oceans and our climate for future generations.  

Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens MP for Western Victoria, Dr Sarah Mansfield:

“The resounding message from community members I’ve heard from in Western Victoria has been that seismic blasting is not wanted here. 

“The exploitation and destruction of our marine environment by massive corporations like Conoco Philips, CGG, TGS and SLB is against the public interest and the public will, but the Victorian Government remains silent. 

“The Greens will continue to stand with coastal communities to protect our oceans and climate. 

“We call on the Victorian Labor Government to ban oil and gas exploration off Victoria’s coast.”

Ellen Sandell and Sarah Mansfield join coastal community action to stop sesimic blasting in the Otway Basin.

Quotes attributable to Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell MP:

“It’s outrageous that both Federal and Victorian Labor Governments support new gas drilling in our oceans, including seismic blasting which can devastate wildlife. 

“Labor must listen to coastal communities and Traditional Owners and ban seismic blasting and new offshore fossil fuel projects.”

People power can stop oil and gas giants wrecking our coast!


Seismic blasting is a practice undertaken by fossil fuel companies surveying for gas and oil under our oceans. Using sonic cannons that fire high pressure air explosions from the surface to the seafloor, companies can analyse soundwaves with underwater audio receivers to determine if any parts of the sea floor may contain oil and gas.

Seismic blasts have to penetrate hundreds of metres of water in order to effectively map the ocean floor for potential oil and gas. They can be heard up to 4000 km away and run every 10 seconds, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for months on end. Marine species such as whales, crustaceans and zooplankton – a fundamental building block in the marine food chain – are impacted in devastating ways by the deafening noise of seismic blasting. 

In June 2023 French multinational CGG applied to blast the coast between Warrnambool and Apollo Bay, with US corporation ConocoPhillips seeking to drill those seabeds.  

In July 2023, Norwegian company TGS released their Environmental Plan to blast 45 000 square kilometres in the Otway Basin, stretching all the way to Tasmania. Oil giant SLB, formerly Schlumberger, became a silent partner on the project after a criminal investigation was launched into previous seismic blasting projects conducted by the company. Within a month NOPSEMA had received over 30 000 submissions rejecting the proposal, a record for public submissions.

These companies are dodging community opposition to their projects through a loophole known as a Special Prospecting Authority or SPA. 

The SPA permits are a sneaky workaround, as they allow companies to basically buy up access to large areas of our ocean, do some symbolic consultation, and then get department sign-off. 

The permits cost a pitiful $8,250 and last 180 days. Companies can then just pay that fee again and keep blasting.

This system allows giant corporations to continue exploring for new oil and gas while avoiding rigorous approvals, public scrutiny and government oversight. 

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