The biggest paddle out in history

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A thousand ocean lovers hit the water in Torquay on Saturday March 23 to call for an end to seismic blasting. Biggest congrats to our mates at Surfrider for the biggest paddle out ever seen to oppose the biggest seismic blasting proposal in history.  

Wadawurrung custodian Corinna Eccles joined Gunditjmara custodian Yaraan Bundle Couzens to take the sacred fire out on the water, enacting indigenous ceremony for Warri, sea country. With a thousand people in the swell, all determined to protect the ocean, the fire was paddled out in a coolamon to honour saltwater, possibly for the first time since colonisation. This was an epic day.

Coastal people showed up in record numbers, with our boards, kayaks, banners and kites, carrying a strong commitment to protect our future. Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson and Victorian Greens MPs Tim Read and I were among them. 

From Geelong to the border and across the water to Bass Strait, people are standing up – and paddling out – to save our seas from corporate greed. 

Get on board to protect our oceans:

Two large corporations, SLB and TGS, want to blast 45,000 square kilometres of ocean between the Otway coast and Tasmania. These blasts – louder than a bomb exploding – go off every ten seconds for days, weeks, months on end. Evidence shows seismic blasting decimates zooplankton – the building blocks of our oceans – and kills or harms many other species.

The endgame of seismic blasting is also disastrous. If these corporations detect oil or gas under the seabed, the next step is constructing drill rigs to extract the oil and gas. In a climate crisis, this has to be stopped. 

The Greens have a plan to stop offshore oil and gas projects before they start, by legislating to ban drilling in Victorian waters.  The TGS seismic proposal is before the regulatory body, NOPSEMA, right now, waiting for an approved ‘Environmental Plan’. NOPSEMA, however, has never knocked back a seismic blasting, oil or gas drilling project. The way we can stop this is in parliament, through legislation. 

With the Greens in both Victorian and Federal parliament advocating for a ban on offshore drilling, plus community activism in our towns, on our beaches and in our streets, we can win this. Community pressure + Greens in parliament = a winning equation. 

Learn more about the Otway Basin seismic blasting project here.

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