Tehan backs calls for TGS to consult coastal towns

June 24, 2024 BY

Seismic blasts can reach 250 decibels, posing risks to marine life and fisheries. Photo: SENSE ATELIER

WANNON federal member Dan Tehan has added his support to growing calls for TGS to consult with coastal towns, personally guaranteeing their safety during the consultation process for a planned seismic blasting project in the Otway Basin.

The global energy data company recently declined to hold consultation sessions in Torquay, Aireys Inlet, and Lorne, which sparked controversy over its approach to community consultation.

The company cited safety concerns among its reasons, a response that baffled residents and raised questions about the authenticity of the consultation process.

Mr Tehan, whose electorate runs from the South Australian border to Anglesea, said that excuse did not cut it.

“No one should be afraid of consultation,” Mr Tehan said.

“Making sure that you’ve got a proper social licence is very important when it comes to doing this type of activity.”


Dan Tehan meets a member of his electorate. Photo: ANGUS SMITH


Mr Tehan said the coastal towns in his electorate were perfectly safe.

“Community members are very engaged but very sensible, very respectful and I love coming to these coastal towns, they’re very much part of my electorate.”

Mr Tehan said he could personally vouch for the company’s safety.

“If TGS has any concerns, I’d be more than happy to facilitate meetings because I know that everyone would be incredibly respectful.

“I am happy to facilitate and I would give them a guarantee that I am sure it would be incredibly respectful.”

Corangamite federal member Libby Coker wrote to TGS in May requesting a consultation session on the Surf Coast.

Replying to Ms Coker’s request, TGS stated past interactions in Torquay had raised potential safety concerns.


Seismic blasts can reach 250 decibels, posing risks to marine life and fisheries. Photo: NJA BERTOLT JENSEN


The three-dimensional multi-client marine seismic survey proposed by TGS and energy company SLB involves using airguns to map the ocean floor, a process that has sparked significant environmental concerns.

The companies have applied for a controversial Special Prospecting Authority permit to carry out the work.

In March, government regulator NOPSEMA returned the project’s Environment Plan to TGS for revisions, citing issues with the consultation process.

Mr Tehan said NOPSEMA was regarded internationally as a credible organisation for its work.

“But it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be looking at continued improvements.

“What I would like to see is going back to the system where the proponents themselves seek the licence because then they have a direct interest in how the community consultation occurs.”

He also reiterated his previous concerns about the size and scope of the project.

“I have deep concerns,” Mr Tehan said.

“What has tended to happen normally when these licences are granted is it’s the proponent themselves that seeks the licence.

“So they’ve got a direct interest in proper community consultation.

“With this, the size of it is too large and the community consultation has suffered as a result of that.”

TGS has not responded to multiple interview requests.

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