Surfers paddle out to save the Great Australia Bight.
Surfers paddle out to save the Great Australia Bight.

Byron protesters ‘buzzing’ as Equinor abandons plans

OCEAN lovers across the country are revelling in the news Equinor has scrapped its plans to drill in the Great Australian Bight.

With a turnout of 4000 protesters, Byron Bay was one of the loudest coastal communities united against the company's plan to drill for oil in the Bight.

Byron Bay's Surfrider Foundation spokesman Ben Miller said people involved in the protest movement are "excited and proud".

"People often feel helpless these days when it comes to environmental issues," he said.

"For people to come together like that in a place like Byron, it's huge, I haven't felt that much community spirit for a long time."

Sea Shepherd Byron Bay spokeswoman Lealah Shostak agreed "the energy was wild," at the protest.

Surfers paddle out to save the Great Australia Bight.
Surfers paddle out to save the Great Australia Bight.

She said that locals feel as though they have a stake in the issue.

"Byron Bay is known for its nature and surf, when you're surrounded by that, it's instinctive to try and protect that," she said.

"We are all so excited, we feel like it's been a massive success."

The company said it had concluded that its exploration drilling plan was "not commercially competitive" compared with other opportunities.

The federal government is still open to the prospect of drilling in the Bight, and local protesters have said this win has recharged them to oppose any future proponents.

"We need to ask the government about how they're going to protect the Bight rather than give a licence to the next drilling company," Ms Shostak said.

"If another company comes along, we will fight them just as hard as we fought Equinor, we are going to keep on fighting."


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