Dr Hawke must respond to public scrutiny

*Media Advisory – Public have questions for Hawke and Higgins*

Dr Hawke must respond to public scrutiny about his relationship with Jemena

Journalists today will have the opportunity to question Dr Hawke on his latest report on shale gas fracking for the Northern Territory.

But recent revelations of Dr Hawke’s close gas industry ties have raised significant question marks over the impartiality of his advice to government recommending development of the onshore gas industry by hydraulic fracturing and the priority of a gas export pipeline.

Below are questions from the public:

– Will Dr Hawke explain the relationship between the board he sits of for Icon Water, and successful gas pipeline bidder Jemena? The two boards co-manage ActewAGL in a joint gas distribution venture and appear to have a cosy relationship, as can be seen by the attached photo from their website of 3 members of both boards working together. 

-Can Dr Hawke explain how his organisation’s gas distribution networks, shared with Jemena, will not benefit from access to new reserves of NT gas and control of the pipeline construction and customer contracts?

-Why have Dr Hawke’s affiliations with IconWater been omitted from his official Northern Territory Government biography, despite holding a Board membership since 2009?

– Will Minister Higgins end up with a gas reservation area over his electorate in the lead up to the 2016 election? 

– How can the NT Government justify excluding some parts of the Northern Territory from shale gas fracking on the basis of acknowledged risk while other, more politically marginal areas, will be promoted for development despite strong community opposition? When will residents of the Northern Territory be able to see the map of where the NT Government wants to allow shale gas fracking? 

-Will these areas be determined by an economic, or environmental, scientific and social case?

– Why did Jemena’s media release yesterday say their proposed pipeline will “accelerate development of NT gas fields” and be a “catalyst to fast track development of the NT’s gas fields”  when the NT Government has said they want to ‘go slow’ on unconventional gas in the Territory due to valid community concerns?

– Will the new regulations ensure critical baseline groundwater and surface water studies are undertakenbefore drilling begins? How about baseline fugitive emissions data collection, fault line mapping and baseline health impact assessments? Why are they letting the frack rigs in before we understand how groundwater will be affected? 

– Does the updated report put into action all the regulatory improvements that Hawke pointed out were covered off in submissions by the legal firm EDONT? 

– Has Dr Hawke or Minister Higgins considered earthquake risks in his updated report, particularly considering Tennant Creek is a nationally listed earthquake hotspot? 

*The Independent member for Karama Delia Lawrie will raise questions over the NT Chief Minister’s knowledge during parliament question time today.

 Joint-venture-board for ActewAGL

 Image: Board members of Jemena and IconWater work together on joint venture ActewAGL.