December 16, 2021

PEP 11 is Dead in the Water

Thursday 16 December 2021


The Petroleum Exploration Permit PEP-11 will not go ahead under steps taken by the Morrison Government to reject the project.

The Morrison Government has advised NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole as the joint authority partner, as well as the National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator (NOPTA), of the Commonwealth’s intention to refuse the application.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Government was taking steps to protect local communities and the environment by putting a stop to PEP-11.

“This project will not proceed on our watch,” the Prime Minister said.

“Gas is an important part of Australia’s current and future energy mix but this is not the right project for these communities and pristine beaches and waters.

“From Newcastle through to Wollongong my Government has listened to the concerns of local Liberal Members and candidates and their communities and we’re putting our foot down.”

PEP-11 is located primarily in Commonwealth waters off the NSW coast between Newcastle and Wollongong and covers approximately 8,200 m2.

Liberal Member for Robertson Lucy Wicks said: “The Morrison Government and the Central Coast community has been consistent in its opposition to PEP-11. Refusing the PEP-11 permit is an important decision for our region and reflects the values and care our community has towards our environment and oceans.

“The Prime Minister has listened to the Central Coast and knows that the oceans we all love to swim in, fish in and go boating in are worth protecting so that we can enjoy them now and into the future.”

Liberal Member for Mackellar Jason Falinski said: “This is a welcome first step to ending this project once and for all. The beaches and habitats on the northern beaches are too important to put at any risk and I have been pushing hard in Canberra to see PEP-11 stopped.”

Liberal Member for North Sydney Trent Zimmerman said: “This strong action shows exactly why you need members of the government like me and my colleagues who can walk into ministers’ offices and put our case on behalf of our communities. Hollow motions in Parliament don’t get things done, direct action by governments does.”

Liberal Member for Wentworth Dave Sharma said: “Australia’s gas fields help power the world but there are other sites for new projects out there that don’t put our iconic shoreline at risk that should be looked at. Right up and down the NSW coast communities like mine will be cheering this decision.”

Liberal candidate for Paterson Brooke Vitnell said: “The Prime Minister first expressed his opposition to the PEP11 project during a visit to Paterson. This shows how crucial our region was to the PM’s decision and I’m pleased that in making this decision he has again put the people of the Hunter first. This is a decision I not only strongly support but it’s one that reflects the broader view of the Port Stephens community.”

Liberal candidate for Shortland Nell McGill said: “I am so very grateful to Prime Minister Scott Morrison for this decision. It’s wonderful to think our PM cares as much as we do, when it comes to the glorious beaches of the Lake Macquarie Region, and beyond. I’m sure my delight is shared by everyone in Shortland and the entire Hunter region who enjoy our magnificent beaches and lakes.”

The Government’s refusal of the application is based on the following reasons:

• The Government has given consideration to high levels of community opposition to the application.

• The Government is not satisfied that the applicant is able to raise sufficient funding required to progress the work program in a timely manner and in the timeframe of the permit conditions.

• The Government does not agree with the reasons listed by the applicant for the extension – there is insufficient evidence to meet the criteria of force majeure.

NOPTA, as the regulator, will grant the applicant 30 days to respond to the notice of intention to refuse the application.

The Morrison Government is working to unlock investment in Australian gas including through a $220 million commitment to the Beetaloo Strategic Basin and $15.7 million in support for the North Bowen and Galilee Basins.

The Government’s Future Strategic Basin Plans will also accelerate gas development in other strategically important gas basins around the country, helping to support the gas-fired recovery that is crucial to Australia’s post-COVID economy.


Media Contact

Prime Minister’s office: Press Office, (02) 6277 7744

Member for Wentworth’s office: Jodie Mathews, 0466 366 522

The Hon. Scott Morrison MP, Sydney

Press Office of the Hon. Scott Morrison MP, Prime Minister, Canberra