LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – Fracking has no social licence yet. The social licence to frack for gas promised by the NT government will not be earned by using more taxpayer’s money to overstate the short term benefits, minimise the risks of fracking and ignore renewable energy options.
Many of the concerns in our statement “Fracking is too risky” in May have still not been addressed even after our personal discussions and correspondence with NT Chief Minister Adam Giles and the mining companies Central Petroleum and SANTOS.
Without serious responses to these serious realities and risks there is no social licence.
Companies and the community want certainty. No one wants a stranded asset pipeline blotting our beautiful landscape. No one wants contaminated water. No one wants to pay forever for ever increasing air-conditioning costs for gas induced higher temperatures across Central Australia.
So respond reasonably to the following risks, or make the switch to renewable energy options and jobs. When will we see the promised regulations to minimise fracking risks? Will there be time for public scrutiny and change before approving fracking? Who monitors fracking operations?
Will monitors include those who do not support fracking to ensure wider community confidence, transparency and social contract? Will there be unrestricted 24/7 access?
Will all the pre and post results of water, soil and air testing be publicly available? Will this cover the actual chemicals used?
Will there be transparency of decision making? Will there be ongoing involvement of traditional owners?
Is there an independent umpire or review body with no conflict of interest? Are there strong legal sanctions to prosecute violations without delay?
Will whistle-blowers within companies, government or wider community be supported by legislation? Can government employees or those on contracts share their views without risk of retribution?
How do we decontaminate underground water and who pays for it? Are rural and remote NT landowners and communities being made sacrifice zones for business and government benefit? Who pays the increased costs from climate change increases?
It’s all part of the bigger question. Who benefits and who loses in Central Australia and around the world, now and in the future, from fracking NT gas?
When will we transition to a cheaper healthier renewable energy economy if not now? Let’s carefully consider how we change our world before it changes us.
Funding and approval to build a gas pipeline to the Eastern states for export opportunities needs to be carefully considered by all Territorians within the reality that millions of people worldwide are realising that the fossil fuel economy has negative impacts on our planet and millions of people.
This challenge is strongly reinforced by people like Pope Francis speaking “On Care for Our Common Home” and Canadian Naomi Klein author of “This Changes Everything” with the movie that premieres at the Alice Springs Cinema on Thursday, November 5 at 6.30pm.
Catholic Social Justice Awareness Group
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish
LETTER TO THE EDITOR