Call to suspend seismic testing permit

OBJECTIONS: There has been widespread objection to seismic testing and the establishment of a gas field off the coast of Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
OBJECTIONS: There has been widespread objection to seismic testing and the establishment of a gas field off the coast of Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

NSW Parliament is calling for the Turnbull government to suspend a petroleum exploration permit for an area off the coast of Newcastle where seismic testing has recently taken place.

But the firm searching for gas has rejected the motion, saying parliament hasn’t considered the evidence.

Asset Energy spokesman Toby Foster said the company had proven it could operate through “evolving” regulatory framework over several years and believed its projects had done no harm to the environment.

The NSW upper house passed a motion on Tuesday that called for a halt to Asset Energy’s exploration in the PEP11 permit area until concerns about the regulatory process had been addressed.

It came after the state’s Liberal resources minister Don Harwin said in February he was concerned that seismic testing had been approved about 30km off the coast of Newcastle.

The testing took place last month, despite public backlash sparked by fears about the possible effect on the marine environment.