NTG crisis is opportunity for urgent rethink on NT shale gas rush

3rd February 2015:

In the wake of the midnight ousting of Chief Minister Giles, the Frack Free NT Alliance has called on the government to urgently review NT development policies, in particular its blind support for the controversial shale gas industry and fracking.

According to the Alliance, this policy review is also timely given the fact that community opposition to the unconventional gas industry contributed to the huge losses suffered in even safe conservative seats in the QLD election on Saturday. In the past few years the unconventional gas industry has turned large parts of rural Queensland into industrial zones, threatening water resources, agricultural land and national icons like the Great Barrier Reef and the NT government is supporting a roll out of the industry in the Territory.

It’s clear the CLP is in crisis, but if it’s to learn anything from the devastating loss suffered at the QLD state election it must urgently rethink its unpopular Developing the North agenda which promises widespread shale gas fracking at the cost of community health, environmental protection and the climate. Giles’ ousting proves there is little appetite for either the NT Government’s policy priorities or its arrogant leadership style, even in former-CLP strongholds” said Tanya Hall of the Frack-Free NT Alliance.

Katherine has built one of the strongest campaigns against fracking in the NT, where local member Willem Westra Van Holthe has become increasingly unpopular over his support for the industry, despite the proven environmental and public health risks,” said Charmaine Roth, a Katherine-based coordinator for the Frack-Free NT Alliance.

Willem’s promotion to leader is likely to deliver the same result Campbell Newman suffered where the party leader lost his own seat in a landslide because he refused to listen to his own electorate.”

It’s time the new Chief Minister started listening to his constituents on this issue by releasing the long-overdue Hawke Fracking Inquiry report and implementing a moratorium to protect public health and our vital water resources from fracking.”

The new NT Chief Minister should make no mistake- the domino effect of fracking bans from Scotland to New York State will hit the fledgling NT shale gas industry hard, and the NT government and Labor opposition harder if they fail to see the writing on the wall,” she said.

This industry is unsafe and deeply unpopular in NT communities and will play a key role in the upcoming NT elections in areas targeted for fracking,” concluded Roth.

Frack-Free NT Alliance members will attend the Feb 10 NTG Cabinet meeting in Alice Springs to call for immediate release of the Hawke Fracking Inquiry report and a moratorium on fracking.