By ERWIN CHLANDA
The Central Land Council (CLC) is being accused of doing deals with Jemena, the company planning to build the Tennant Creek to Mount Isa gas pipeline, without the permission from the traditional owners of the land it would traverse.
Paul Wickham, a Wakaya Land Trust spokesperson, says in a media release this morning: “Discussions seem to be happening behind closed doors between Jemena and the Land Councils [including the Northern Land Council] even though they are no longer acting for us.
“As far as the Wakaya Land Trust is concerned there is no agreement for this pipeline to go ahead.”
And Wakaya TO Max Priest says: “We said numerous time that we do not want fracking, as the impact it has on the environment would be devastating both for our water, community, animals and landscape. Jemena has done its own environment study and that’s not good enough.”
Mr Wickham says although the CLC and Jemena knew that the TOs were being represented by a legal firm, approval was given to the pipeline company by the CLC.
Without any negotiations the TOs were presented with an agreement for signature last week, as the company is proceeding with stockpiling pipes in Tennant Creek, he says.
“We did not sign any agreement that was put before us,” says Mr Wickham.
“Jemena is a company owned by the Chinese (60%) and Singapore (40%) Governments.
“The stated justification for the Jemena pipeline is to ‘stimulate the development of the Northern Territory through increased gas exploration and production’. This means unconventional gas fields and fracked gas.
“The Wakaya people have previously called the land access consultation process a sham and walked out of consultations after bullying by the pipeline company.”
The Alice Springs News Online is seeking comment from the CLC.
PHOTO: Members of the Wakaya Land Trust (supplied).