Independent MP Zali Steggall will table a petition in Federal Parliament calling for the cancellation of a petroleum exploration license that covers a patch of ocean near Newcastle where an energy company plans to drill for gas.
Community advocacy group Save Our Coast has collected about 56,000 signatures on the petition, which calls for Petroleum Exploration Licence 11 (PEP11) - stretching from Sydney to Port Stephens - to be retired.
Ms Steggall, the Member for Warringah, has thrown her support behind the group and has offered to table the petition in the House of Representatives.
The Newcastle Herald understands the petition will be presented to Ms Steggall in Canberra next Tuesday, though a timeframe for the document to be tabled has not yet been locked in.
It comes after news last week that Advent Energy had shelved its long-standing plan for 3D seismic testing in the Baleen prospect area, off the Hunter coast, and an announcement to the Australian Stock Exchange on Tuesday that the company had lodged an application to drill for gas 30km southeast of Newcastle.
"When Save Our Coast approached me, the seismic testing was planned to extend down to Manly and impact Warringah's pristine marine environment," Ms Steggall said.
"I offered to submit a petition to call for the seismic testing to be banned."
Now that the plan for seismic testing has been abandoned, Ms Steggall said she was concerned about the drilling operation.
"Our coast plays a huge part of our livelihood and should not be put at risk for these drilling projects," she said.
Save Our Coast founder Natasha Deen, who met with Ms Steggall in Sydney on Wednesday, said the group was "delighted" to have the MP's support.
"We are also honoured to follow through with our commitment to each and every one of the 56,000 people who have signed our petition, to take their concerns and have their voices heard in parliament, to save our marine animals, our coast, our climate and to call for an end to PEP 11," Dr Deen said.
"The cancellation of seismic testing demonstrates the power of community spirit, that what we are doing is having an impact."
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