Is Labor Gunner have a fracking problem?


p2217-fracking-10LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – In May 2015 at a Katherine Regional Mining and Exploration Conference, Federal Opposition Spokesman for Resources and Northern Australia Gary Gray spoke enthusiastically in support of hydraulic fracturing, saying that fracking would help unlock the Territories valuable gas reserves.
This prominent Labor parliamentarian stated that Australia had some of the best environmental controls in the world and furthermore that monitoring by Federal and state regulatory bodies would ensure that there were no unacceptable impacts on the environment. Fracking he said would have minimal or no effect on aquifers.
Mr Gray claimed that good science had been missing from the fracking debate and there had been a tremendous amount of misinformation by scaremongers.
According to Mr Gray a robust regulatory body as proposed by the Hawke Report into Hydraulic Fracturing would ensure that the process would present no risk to the environment.  When considering past environmental disasters in the NT, such as at Mt Todd for instance, many Territorians would be skeptical of this frequently outspoken politician’s claim.
Mr Gray spoke of jobs and wealth creation. He neglected to say that most of the jobs would not be for locals but for southern fly in fly out workers and that the bulk of royalty money paid to the government will actually be handed back to the mining companies in the form of subsidies. For example, of in excess of $500 million paid to the government over the last five years, 80% has been gifted back to the miners.
I wrote to the NT Opposition Leader Michael Gunner about Gary Gray’s strong pro-fracking stance, asking him to clearly articulate the NT Labor Party’s fracking policy, but I have had no reply.
On the Federal scene the Australian Labor Party endorses fracking. However, the vast majority of Territorians, including Labor supporters, are opposed to it. It is my belief that most members of the Katherine branch of the Labor Party are fervently opposed to hydraulic fracturing.
Should Mr Gunner be subservient to the Federal Labor Party on this extremely important issue, it places Katherine Labor voters, and indeed other Labor supporters throughout the Territory in a difficult position. Mr. Gunner is “gunna” have a fracking conundrum on his hands.
Bruce Francais


  1. The point of who will benefit most from fracking should not be the point of contention.
    There is only one winner and it is not the Territorians.
    The focus should be on the damage that will be done to the Territory water supply.
    As mentioned in past letters, the problem the fracking companies are facing over here now, are all environmental.
    In many cases it’s far too late as the damage has already been done.

  2. While my understanding of the Territory Labor moratorium was to allow a proper regulatory system to be in place before any further commercial exploitation of this resource occurred there are some additional benefits of a moratorium.
    Inevitably there will be considerable demands for additional government support. It is apparent to me and many others that the economic benefits to be gained from gas exploitation in the medium to longer term are uncertain. The world is turning rapidly away from carbon based fuels and the costs of renewable technologies are plummeting.
    A moratorium allows a breathing space in which to better evaluate the benefits and risks of exploiting this resource. If it is prudent to exploit the resource it will hardly matter if we wait two years to do so. If it is not then a considerable amount of public money will have been saved. Even a few shareholders might secretly be thankful for government inaction for a change.


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