Fracking the Gulf Country: A community meeting on the risks of unconventional gas mining to water, land and communities.
15 December from 10.30am at Heartbreak Hotel, Cape Crawford
Statement to the Chief Minister from Gulf region landholders against fracking
Dear Chief Minister,
We are the combined landholders of areas under threat from gas fracking in the Gulf of Carpentaria including Pastoral Lease holders, Aboriginal Land Trust custodians and Native Title holders.
Together we represent all parties with interests in land targeted by fracking company Armour Energy including the Manangorah, Calvert Hills, Mallapunyah, Seven Emu, Greenbank, Bahunia Downs and Spring Creek pastoral leases and the Nawimbi and Garawa Aboriginal Land Trusts. Our stations have been run by our families for generations, and for Aboriginal owners, we have lived on these lands since time immemorial. We are major cattle producers and also run successful commercial fishing, eco and cultural tourism operations that will be significantly impacted by plans for shale gasfield industrialisation.
The shale gas industry is unproven and has a large industrial footprint. It is water intensive with significant and unresolved risks including waste management, air and water contamination issues.
Fracking poses a major risk to the long-term viability of our businesses, our homes and surrounding communities. The industry’s intensive water use will compete with already struggling landholders in our region suffering drought. Many permanent lagoons have dried up for the first time in living memory and river levels are at historic lows.
The NT Government has been promoting our region as the next unconventional gas province but we have never been consulted or given our consent to this development. Many parts of the Gulf region have already been damaged by reckless and unregulated mining. We don’t want to see that happen again with the thousands of gas wells the fracking industry has planned for our region.
Chief Minister, we are calling on you to visit the Gulf and speak directly to the people whose land and livelihoods you are selling out from under our feet.
Since 2011 Armour Energy and partner American Energy have been exploring for shale gas on our properties. In just a few years these companies have acquired exploration permits covering approximately 50,000 square kilometres of land across tenements in the Gulf region, with more under application.
Since this time we have had water taken, fences knocked down and land cleared for roads and gas exploration without consultation or permission from landowners.
We have voted to block gas exploration on the Nawimbi and Garawa Land Trusts using our veto rights, but surrounding Pastoral Leases are denied rights to block mining and are targeted by wall to wall fracking permits.
Proposed access agreements between landholders and resource companies will not apply retrospectively to our properties which have already been approved by your government for gas mining, nor to the further 32% of the Territory landmass that has already been granted. Unconventional gas companies cannot claim to have a social licence where landholders are denied fundamental rights to negotiate or reject access.
We are calling on the NT Government to act urgently to ensure our shared land, water and communities are protected from fracking by revoking all exploration approvals granted without consultation.
Landholders deserve the right to say no to invasive gas mining that risks our land, water and the long-term health and viability of our region. We are standing together to say no to fracking and call on your government to act for the permanent protection of our region’s people, environment and local economy.