People live on and visit the Central Coast because of our coastline and our coastal way of life. It's precious; it's who we are. As pro surfer Ace Buchan from Avoca says, 'People love our oceans'.
But our coastline, our marine life and our way of life are at risk because of the Morrison government's refusal to reject PEP 11. Let's be clear: PEP 11 allows the holder to explore with a view to offshore drilling along the coast from Sydney, through the Central Coast and as far as Newcastle. Today, I was proud to join with Save Our Coast and the Surfrider Foundation Australia, standing shoulder to shoulder with our community and adding their chorus of voices to our strong opposition to PEP 11.
Save Our Coast has collected 77,000 signatures to stop this flawed and risky plan to drill for fossil fuels within PEP 11. The Surfrider Foundation Australia bravely paddled out into Lake Burley Griffin earlier this morning to call on the government to listen to our community and to reject any extension of PEP 11. My office has already received close to 800 emails, phone calls and petitions from locals who are concerned about PEP 11. These are from people like Cathy from Berkeley Vale, who echoed the feelings of so many locals by saying: 'The beach is our happy place for our family of five. We love going to the beach as our way to reset. Drilling threatens to take this away.'
Sadly, the decision on PEP 11 won't be made on the coast or in Newcastle so we have to make the case against it in Canberra. The responsibility for offshore drilling lies with this government. The Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, Minister Pitt, as the federal minister, has the final say about the joint authority. Minister Pitt: do the right thing, stop PEP 11 and save our coast.