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NSW wouldn't be ready for an oil spill catastrophe: Oppn

Posted on 21 February 2012
The NSW Opposition says the state is unprepared for a major oil spill and has proposed a plan to better protect the environment and wildlife in case it happens.

Opposition environment spokesman Luke Foley on Monday said NSW would be unable to deal with catastrophic oil spills like those in the Gulf of Mexico or New Zealand's Bay of Plenty, and has proposed a three-point Wildlife Disaster Rehabilitation Plan.

Firstly, he said he would this week introduce an amendment to the Marine Pollution Bill that would use revenue raised through fines and penalties to improve the state's clean-up infrastructure and procedures.

Secondly, a so-called Oiled Wildlife Network should be created, that would lead the response to a spill and coordinate bodies such as the Office of Environment and Heritage, Department of Primary Industries, Maritime NSW and non-government organisations.

Thirdly, environmental clean-up plans for vulnerable regions, such as the 16,000 penguin colony on Montague Island and Lord Howe Island, should also be drawn up, he said.

"The Gulf of Mexico spill two years ago, the Rena spill in the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand late last year, should act as an alarm bell for NSW," Foley told reporters in Sydney.

"Our ports are going gangbusters. With that increased traffic ... it's not a matter of if but when there is a major oil spill.

"The state disaster plan looks at life and property but it is weak on the environment and wildlife."

Foley said he would meet with the government in coming days to discuss his plan, and hoped for a bipartisan approach to the problem.

"Our state is unprepared at the moment - I want to work with the government and non-government sector to get the state ready," he said.

"It ought not be an area of partisan politics."

Comment is being sought from the NSW government.

Source: Industry Search
Tags:Industry News

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