Tourism operators ‘go gasfield free’ to protect our icons

Territory tourism operators and businesses launched a new Gasfield-free Territory Tourism campaign to highlight the risks fracking gasfields will have on our vital tourism sector and the iconic regions people love to visit.

This Dry Season, a series of postcards demonstrating Territory tourism icons under threat from fracking have been launched to coincide with the start of the busy tourist season. Local tourism operators and businesses will be displaying the postcards in stores and on tour.

“Our brand image as an unspoilt destination with clean flowing waterways underpins the strong growth of our industry,” said Petrena Ariston, owner of Top Didj Cultural Tours in Katherine.

“We are proud of the sustainable and positive contribution the Territory’s tourism sector makes to the economy and our communities.

“Right now our national parks, waterways, fishing and tourism icons like Uluru, the Mataranka Hot Springs and Roper River are largely surrounded by permits for fracking gasfields.

“Tourists who have witnessed the devastation of unconventional gasfields in QLD are always telling us, ‘Make sure it doesn’t happen in the Territory.’

“In launching our Gasfield-free Territory Tourism postcards, we give all our visitors the chance to help protect the places people love to visit across the Territory.

“We want to clearly demonstrate the concerns of our visitor base and our sector – that fracking gasfields are too big a risk to our image as a clean, green and pristine part of Australia to visit. The only way we can have certainty on our investments, jobs and the long-term viability of our vibrant tourism sector is to see fracking banned,” she said.

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Reg Ramsden of Remote Educational Tours servicing Watarrka (Kings Canyon) and Uluru said, “Fracking is not compatible with Territory tourism where visitors come to see a pristine environment. Our region hosts many unique plants and it’s a very fragile arid landscape; water is critical. If companies start fracking around our national parks they will frack all that up.”

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Deb Moore, owner of Mataranka Homestead adjacent to the popular hot springs said, “We know the health of our waterways and beautiful spring country is what brings thousands of tourists to the region. With fracking gasfields across the landscape all that would be gone.”

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Rob Woods, owner of Ethical Adventures hosts tours across many Top End tourist icons: “Fracking will upset the delicate balance of our hydrology, affecting our hot springs, water holes and recreational fishing. It will impact the biodiversity and abundance of our wildlife. Gasfield industrialisation also risks the sense of remoteness and freedom that people love holidaying in the Territory for.”

“Fracking plans are a threat to our vital sector and the environment we all rely on. Tourism provides jobs for 12% of the NT workforce and 8.1 % of the NT GDP. Its madness to put all this at risk for a short-term industry which has neither been proven safe nor economic.”

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Thousands of postcards are being collected by tourism businesses across the Territory and will be delivered to Parliament at the end of the 2017 tourist season.

To join the Gasfield-free Territory Tourism campaign!
Please get in contact to order your display kit and postcards today:

Territory Tourism at risk from fracking: background brief

Fracking: all risk no reward

Fracking gasfields require development of thousands of gas wells connected by pipelines, roads and processing infrastructure. Shale gas fracking is a water intensive industry, using over 20 million litres of fresh water per gas well, mixed with hundreds of tonnes of chemicals, while bringing millions of litres of fluid polluted with heavy metals to the surface for treatment and disposal.
The impact of current shale gas permits across the Territory’s landscapes would be significant.

Recent studies of businesses and local governments in Queensland’s gasfield-affected regions reported the impacts of the industry have resulted in a multitude of negative impacts on other existing industries. These include a reduction in the condition of infrastructure such as roads, reduction in accommodation for tourism, a degraded environment, higher living costs and loss of revenue to other industries.[1]

Gasfields in remote areas also mean significant reliance on a fly-in fly-out workforce and workcamps. Short-term construction phases can mean tourist accommodation is put under pressure for mining industry needs, driving away regular tourist trade that could take many years to recover after the boom.

Territory tourism: a strong and sustainable part of our economy

Conversely our industry is a significant and sustainable driver of the Territory economy. It has a positive flow on effect to many other industry sectors and generates a significant number of jobs in the Territory. Territory tourism is vibrant and multi-faceted, with a long-established reputation as a unique destination centred on our extraordinary natural landscapes and rich Aboriginal culture.

Tourism NT boasts 513,000 combined international and domestic visitors for the Top End (up 24%) the year ending June 2016, and 432,000 in Central Australia (up 9.2%). The goal of TourismNT’s Vision 2020 campaign is to grow the visitor economy to $2.2 billion by 2020 as measured by overnight expenditure.

In 2013-14 Territory tourism contributed 4.0 per cent to GSP and 5.7 per cent of total resident employment.[2]

Plans for fracking gasfields in regions heavily reliant on tourism such as Central Australia and the Katherine and Roper River districts present a significant risk to our industry and our investment decisions.

We want to see the NT Government protect Territory tourism but ensuring that frackinggasfields cannot undermine our growing industry, our visitor base, and clean, green image and brand.


[1] The University of Queensland, Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, 2013, Project Report.
[2] NT Treasury Budget Papers 2015-16, page 16,