Community groups still don’t know if an oil and gas exploration permit for the NSW coast will be extended, despite the prime minister backing their calls to oppose it.
Scott Morrison had a clear answer when asked if he supported the extension of the exploration licence.
“No,” he told reporters near Newcastle on Thursday.
Extending the licence is a decision for Resources Minister Keith Pitt, who has not made up his mind.
“I will carefully consider the proposal taking into account advice from the National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator and the legislation under which the application has been made before making an announcement,” he told AAP in a statement.
Multiple community groups including ‘Save our Coast’ have been campaigning against the licence being extended.
The Petroleum Exploration Permit 11 expired earlier this month.
It allowed mineral exploration in 4500sqm of ocean between Sydney’s northern beaches peninsula and Newcastle.
Permit holders Advent Energy and Bounty Oil and Gas are after a renewal of the exploration licence, arguing the area may hold significant mineral deposits.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro does not want the controversial drilling permit renewed.
Federal Labor has previously called for the permit to be permanently scrapped.