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Bill Shorten says an incoming federal Labor government would commission a study into the consequences of a future oil spill in the Great Australian Bight.

Norwegian energy giant Equinor says the Bight “could be one of Australia’s largest untapped oil reserves” and wants to drill a well more than 370 kilometres off the coast of South Australia.

Drilling of the proposed Stromlo-1 well will begin in the summer of 2020/21 if it receives all necessary regulatory approval.

Beach protests have been held around the country condemning the project, including in the NSW south coast seat of Gilmore where the Labor leader campaigned on Wednesday.

“If I form a government, one of my first decisions will be to get an oil spill study,” Mr Shorten said.

“I want to understand the consequences of an oil spill in the Bight … and I think that that is what is concerning a lot of our surfers and people who care about our coastline.”

Equinor has submitted an environmental draft plan to the regulator for offshore petroleum safety.