PEP 11, the permit for mining companies to explore for oil and gas off the coast from Sydney to Newcastle, including off the Central Coast, is up for renewal in 10 days time. Critically, this decision won't be made locally. It won't be made on the Central Coast. It will be made by two ministers who don't live in the area: the federal Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, Minister Keith Pitt, and the New South Wales Deputy Premier, John Barilaro. If the ministers want to know how locals feel about the prospect of oil and gas rigs off the coast, I'll tell them. Nearly 2,000 local people have already contacted me, calling on the ministers to stop PEP 11 and to save our coast. This risky proposal, which the community is opposed to, threatens our environment, our economy and our way of life. As one local summed it up, communities are deeply connected to the coast and depend on it for their livelihoods and wellbeing.
It's not just locals who will be impacted by PEP 11. In 2019, 1.94 million people visited the coast, adding $692 million to our local economy. In the pandemic recovery, tourism should be boosted, not threatened by risky proposals like PEP 11. PEP 11 puts our economic recovery at risk and it puts Central Coast jobs at risk. I encourage every local on the coast who is opposed to offshore drilling to join with thousands of others and have their say. It's not too late. Every signature, every email and every phone call sends a strong message to Minister Pitt and Minister Barilaro that locals don't want drilling off our coast.