Fracking moratorium needed: Alliance


p2217-fracking-12LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – The Northern Territory Frack-Free Alliance welcomes the release of the Hawke Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing Report and calls on the government to initiate an immediate moratorium on this proven high risk, low return industry.
The Hawke report identifies many of the public health and environmental risks posed by fracking that is confirmed by more than 400 peer reviewed studies now available on fracking impacts.
The inquiry recommendations for an improved regulatory regime do not go far enough in addressing and mitigating identified risks. The impacts of fracking are well documented and overseas experience now shows that these are inherent to the engineering process and cannot be effectively regulated out of existence.
The report and NT government response admit that the NT’s weak environmental laws and current regulatory regime is under-resourced and unprepared to manage the risks of fracking. Enacting a moratorium on this industry should be the first act of a responsible government acting on the precautionary principle.
The current regulatory regime relies on an under-resourced inspection and compliance agency and industry self-regulation which has so far failed to protect NT communities and the environment from the impacts of the extractive industries.
Tasmania has just today enacted a five year fracking moratorium, and even in states like NSW and QLD, where it is claimed the industry operates to best practice standards for environmental regulation, accidents and contamination incidents are frequent and unaddressed.
We are calling for:-
• The collection of baseline water quality, environmental and public health data and fracking chemical disclosure so targeted communities can determine risk and prove contamination impacts from fracking operations.
• Landholders and communities must be fully informed of the risks and be given the right to veto fracking. Water catchment areas, National parks and reserves, places of cultural importance and community living areas must be designated exclusion zones.
• The NT Petroleum and Water Acts to be strengthened to weight environmental protections over economic considerations by gas companies.
• The removal of all public subsidies for exploration or extraction of shale gas reserves and an end to any further approval of shale gas licenses
• Consider all opportunities for development of the NT’s vast reserves of renewable energy sources, in particular solar and wind and conduct a cost-benefit comparison of the renewable industry to shale gas.
With the release of this report the NT Government now has the opportunity to demonstrate it is listening to Territorians’ concerns and let science determine the facts – both rule out the introduction of a dangerous and dirty fracking industry in the NT.
We call on government to implement an immediate moratorium. To do less is to create collateral damage of Territory residents to an industry which is unregulated, unnecessary and unsafe.
Tanya Hall, Central Australian Frack-Free Alliance
Lauren Mellor, NT Frack-Free Alliance
Charmaine Roth, Don’t Frack Katherine
Daniel Tapp, Big River Station
Gadrian Hoosan, Nawimbi Land Trust
Eddie Mason, Protect Arnhem Land


  1. I’ve always been a conservative, and continue so. I support mining and development. I started researching and education myself on Fracking, techniques, uses, locations (overseas and Aust) etc early last year.
    I’m always skeptical of what media (journalists) feed us. I like to educate myself. On this subject, all I can say is I have been stunned and shocked as to why we would do it.
    When you take the time and look, there is AMPLE evidence including destroyed properties and communities, overseas and in Queensland, to tell us this is simply not on. Yet, we continue.
    Ironically, in each case, the government, the fracking companies, the reports all follow the same line of safe, regulated, different techniques to other jurisdictions – and so on.
    The ignorant decision makers that form government each time went with it. Are we really that stupid in Australia?
    Clearly we have been in Queensland. Erwin and staff, do you have the resources to go and visit and report on what is unfolding in Queensland? The supporters will all tell us our earth make up is different, our techniques are different the depths are different, the measurement techniques are different, our regulations are different etc.
    Big hint: the same story (formula) was used in Queensland. And when followed up, the supporters are linked one way or another with government or government parties or the industry, whether directly or through family.
    For your readers, please do take the time to do some research, you will be shocked.
    If there is one, solid, genuine thing we can do, if we care about the future and our children – is stand up against the government (regardless of colour) with an absolute no on this highly dangerous industry that is beginning to emerge.
    We talk about fuel being expensive per litre of late. Check out the price of water per litre.
    It will become part of living costs at some point in Alice for sure, just like it has in other townships and communities that were told fracking was safe.
    Naturally there will be comments against what I have written here. Go for it.
    I enjoy the Alice Springs News Online comments on various stories. After my continuing research, nothing will change my stance on the topic. Nor will I respond with further comment here on the topic.
    It’s up to us all to verify issues that are important to us. Through that we easily learn the fools, ignorant amongst the crowd.

  2. Just have to say the same as last comment: it is true, all the research says this crap is dangerous and for a country where we rely so much on water from under the ground, well, the consequences could be no life east of the Great Divide or Sydney. It is already being done there too, and going back in to water ways.
    So many governments are so short term minded that they will do anything for any business they think will make some money.
    But this one isn’t that profitable, in fact the governments are the ones paying for most of it to be done.
    That’s right, our tax dollars pay for it, and we all will pay the end price.

  3. Let’s hope that all the signs we see in the US in regards to fracking are right – this industry is doomed.
    They may pray that the oil price is going to recover but the signs are not that good.
    The costs are going to be the real killer.
    If it’s economically unsustainable it would even make less sense than it already does.
    Let’s hope we don’t have to go on the streets to prevent this nonsense industry take place in our region.

  4. The evidence is abundantly clear globally that hydraulic fracturing is a dangerous and unnecessary practice.
    That the NT Government would agree to continue its program deals with mining companies on the same day that that practice was banned in Tasmania beggars belief.
    Then again, most decisions made by the CLP Ministers (current and former) over the past few weeks beggars belief.
    They couldn’t agree on a chook raffle draw!
    We cannot allow these cowboys to ride rough-shod over Territorians, our precious water resources and our environments. Conduct the necessary studies and strengthen the relevant legislative Acts BEFORE you continue to issue exploration licences, Minister.
    To deny Territorians who are passionate about the country, her people and their rights will be at your own political peril.


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