Friends of the Earth


Esso is planning to build a massive, toxic, industrial dump in the middle of a United Nations-listed wetland on the eastern side of Corner Inlet on Victoria’s Gippsland Coast.

The plan would see more than a dozen multi-storey “topsides” from decommissioned oil and gas platforms dumped in the middle of the Corner Inlet Ramsar site along with hundreds of thousands of tonnes of other waste material, until it can be slowly broken down and transported away.

Ramsar wetlands stretch in front of, and on each side of, the proposed beachfront site.

According to the oil and gas industry’s own research, the structures will include thousands of tonnes of hazardous radioactive waste, huge amounts of asbestos, oil and other hydrocarbons, as well as mercury, lead and other heavy metals.

And Esso wants to do this to save money.

More suitable brownfields sites in Gelong and Tasmania were also scoped by the company, but both would require Esso to bring the old oil platforms ashore in a gradual and responsible manner. Esso only wants to rent a specialist decommissioning ship for one season.

Friends of the Earth (FoE) Offshore Fossil Gas Campaigner Jeff Waters said he was seeking an urgent meeting with the Federal Environment Minister to ask for assurances that the Corner Inlet Ramsar site will be protected.

“That Esso wants to build a massive, highly toxic, multi-story breaking yard in the middle of this fragile wetland is just another demonstration of how it holds Australia in contempt,” Jeff Waters said.

“How are they going to remove thousands of tonnes of hazardous radioactive waste? Where will it be stored?”

“This is an enormous toxic threat to an internationally important wetland, and governments need to act immediately,” he said.

Hundreds of people have now signed a petition to Federal Ministers, calling for Corner Inlet to be saved and for Esso’s plan to dump thousands of tonnes of steel into the ocean to be stopped.

“Governments need to take control of this filthy industry, and make them clean up their mess properly,” Jeff Waters said.

“The industry should be made to pay for a world’s-best-practice recycling centre, with European-style environmental safeguards,” he said.

“By increasing and indefinitely extending the existing temporary decommissioning levy now being charged to industry, a government authority could be set up to supervise the construction.”

Key Facts:

– Esso (ExxonMobil/Woodside) wants to save money

– Plans to build massive multi-storey waste storage and breaking yard in Corner Inlet Ramsar Site

– Includes thousands of tonnes of radioactive waste, asbestos and other toxins

– FoE asks for urgent talks with the Federal Environment Minister

/Public Release.