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No to Oil Drilling off Maragret River.

World champion surfer Tom Carroll and current world number one Taj Burrow have overnight joined with other Australian surf legends to protest against oil drilling off Margaret River and support marine sanctuaries for the southwest.

Joining together before the Margaret River Pro 2012 got underway, eight of Australia's surfing champions - including two-time World Champion Tom Carroll and local legend Dave MacAulay called on Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke to refuse oil drilling leases on the Margaret River coast and protect the iconic region in marine sanctuaries.

Photo at Surfers Point, Margaret River (from left to right): Tom Carroll two-times World Champion and three times pipe master
Tom Whitaker Margaret River Pro winner 2008
Dan Ross - Margaret River Pro winner 2009
Paul Paterson Big Wave Champion
Dave MacAulay Former World number 3 and WA legend
Jake Paterson Pipeline Master, Former World number 5
Kieran Perrow Pipeline Master and current World number 13
Dino Adrian Maragret River Shredder
Photo: Russel Ord

The surfing champions consider Margaret River to be a global icon for surfing and are alarmed at how vulnerable the coast is to the threat of oil drilling and spills after the Government 2 years ago declared a new oil lease just 80 kilometres from Margaret River.

Tony Burke has the opportunity in a few months to eliminate this oil lease if he declares a marine sanctuary over the lease as part of the South West network of marine parks.

"Overseas, I've had globs of oil stuck on my feet making things pretty awful. To come back home here and know that you are always on beautiful waves in a pristine environment is pretty special. It's hard to believe oil drilling is even being contemplated." Dave MacAulay said.

Events like the Margaret River Pro, which is a magnet for tourism and a boost for the local economy, would be at risk if an oil spill happened.

Modeling using CSIRO developed software has shown an oil spill in the Margaret River Oil lease could see oil on beaches from Perth to Margaret River.

"The Federal Government has so far failed to act on ongoing community outrage about the proposal for oil drilling off Margaret River." Tim Nicol from the Conservation Council of WA said.

The Margaret River Pro, formerly the Margaret River Masters, attracts up to 200 of the worlds best surfers and is considered one of the world's most prestigious international tournaments. It is part of the Association of Surfing Professionals world tour.

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