MEDIA ALERT 21 March 2015
Rinehart and shale gas companies licensed to frack Indigenous and Pastoral Land
The Frack-Free Alliance NT has today condemned comments by the Northern Territory Government that the first petroleum exploration licences established on Aboriginal land managed by the NLC represents a win-win for the resource industry and Indigenous community development.
“The NT government has just granted permission to frack significant parcels of Aboriginal community and prime pastoral land, including the iconic Bitter Springs region and surrounding Elsey Station, to a subsidiary of billionaire resources giant Gina Rinehart, Jacaranda Minerals” said Charmaine Roth of Don’t Frack Katherine community group.
The deal comes at a time when the NT government’s recent Hawke Inquiry into the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’ confirmed that effective laws and regulations governing the shale gas industry were not yet in place, although it continues the granting of exploration licenses.
“The government’s declared ‘go-slow’ approach to the unregulated and risky shale gas industry looks more like ‘full steam ahead’ when it comes to dirty deals with powerful friends like Rinehart and multinational gas companies. The only ones who will see any real benefit from the granting of these licenses are some of the richest resource companies operating in Australia, not the communities and pastoral stations set to get fracked.”
“The NT Government handed out $8 million in public subsidies to shale gas companies last financial year. If they were serious about improving the lives of people living in remote communities that kind of money would make a significant long-term investment in desperately needed basic services like roads, housing and employment opportunities” concluded Ms Roth.
“The NT Government is boasting about trading the long-term viability of communities, pastoral stations and the environment for some very short-term profits from an industry already suffering a major economic downturn in the eastern states, and a lifetime of fracking legacy costs including leaky well failures, water and air contamination, and industrialisation of productive pastoral land,” said Lauren Mellor of the Frack-Free Alliance NT.
“NT Petroleum Law is the weakest in Australia, and landholders have few rights to stop access to unwanted invasive exploration and mining on their land. The regulators NT EPA and NT DME are unprepared and under-resourced to manage the risk posed by the thousands of wells planned by shale gas companies in the NT.”
“If fracking goes ahead it will be communities, landholders and the public who will be left with the long-term economic and environmental costs, not the gas companies or even the current NT Government who will be long gone” concluded Ms Mellor.
Traditional Owners and pastoralists from communities across the NT targeted by fracking companies will come together in Katherine on Tuesday March 24 for the launch of the first Frack-Free NT Roadshow, an educational outreach program led by environmental, public health and legal experts to discuss the risks of fracking.
The roadshow will visit Jilkminggan, 25km south of Mataranka and covered by Exploration License 154, on Wednesday 25th March and invite media to hear from local residents objecting to granting of licences for fracking.
For comment or more detail contact:
Lauren Mellor, Frack-Free Alliance, NT 0413 534 125 or Charmaine Roth, Don’t Frack Katherine 0488 195 415
Read the full NTG announcement here: http://newsroom.nt.gov.au/mediaRelease/10801