LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – Members of the Central Australia Frack Free Alliance are extremely disappointed that Alice Springs Town Council failed to pass a motion last night that would protect the town’s water supply from the risk of hydraulic fracturing (fracking).
Alice Springs draws its water from the Roe Creek borefield in the Amadeus Basin, which the Northern Territory government considers to be a “large exploration target” for shale gas. The area currently has the Mereenie and Palm Valley conventional gas fields run by Santos and Central Petroleum respectively. There are currently five pending permit applications from Central Petroleum and its affiliates to explore for shale gas in the Amadeus basin.
The Northern Territory Government has been misleading the public in saying that we have been fracking for years in the Territory and implying that it is therefore safe. While hydraulic fracture stimulation has been applied to conventional gas reserves, largely in the 1990s, the process is quite different for unconventional shale gas. This creates much greater risks for water contamination and other environmental and community health impacts.
While Councillors maybe lured by the industry spin that there will be economic benefits for the region they are too shortsighted to see that without easily accessible drinking water the local economy and in fact the whole community would crumble. It is just too great a risk to take when we are reliant on groundwater.
In the Northern Territory two local councils have already supported moratoria or passed motions of opposition or concern about unconventional gas mining. Leading the way in the NT, Wagait Shire Council passed its second anti-fracking motion on February 15 to oppose fracking as a process to explore and extract gas because of inherent risks, particularly its significant risk to water security.
The Wagait Shire decision was followed by a motion passed by Katherine Town Council on February 26 supporting a moratorium on fracking activity within the entire Katherine municipality. There are now more than 60 councils Australia-wide who have passed similar motions, with all mainland states now represented.
Central Australian Frack Free Coordinator
LETTER TO THE EDITOR