CLP pushes for oil & gas, including fracking


p2373-shane-stone-smLETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – The Country Liberals Central Council has endorsed an onshore oil and gas exploration policy to grow the Territory economy, deliver reliable and affordable gas to the nation and protect our agriculture and water assets and remote and regional communities.
The decision endorses the position outlined by Parliamentary Leader Gary Higgins during his Budget speech in reply and the recommendations contained in Dr Allan Hawke’s 2015 on-shore gas inquiry.
The Country Liberals have a history of developing the Territory economy, in contrast with Labor. It and the unions are tearing themselves apart over on-shore gas – and the Territory economy is paying the price.
Labor and the unions’ fracking moratorium is a needless handbrake on the Territory economy.
The Hawke Report was very clear – the environmental risks associated with hydraulic fracturing can be managed effectively, subject to the creation of a robust regulatory regime.
The Country Liberals will work with communities to explain the benefits of on-shore gas development and measures being put in place to ensure it is done safely and sustainably.
The on-shore gas motion [requires] the industry being governed by world’s best practice and science-based regulations to protect agricultural, water and biodiversity values of the land.
That land owner / holder rights to negotiate and agree to access be enshrined in legislation.
A royalty regime be established that returns benefits into the future for land holders, regional communities, the NT generally and encourages or facilitates future economic opportunities.
The principle of a potential gas reservation policy also be referred to the policy committee for development to ensure future supply for NT power generation and industry development.
Shane Stone
CLP President


  1. This letter may as well be a big neon sign:
    Dear Territorians, the CLP wants to remain irrelevant.
    Wasn’t there some kind of internal CLP review recently that was supposed to figure out where they went wrong?
    Clearly they haven’t figured it out.
    The CLP looks set to be wandering in the wilderness for a while yet.

  2. Currently we have an interesting contrast between two resource-rich jurisdictions with struggling economies under new Labor governments, with both governments dealing with substantial reductions in GST revenue.
    Last year voters in the NT swept a clearly dysfunctional CLP government out of office, handing Labor one of its greatest election victories, including electorates such as Braitling and Katherine which that party had never won before.
    One of NT Labor’s major policy planks was the fracking moratorium which, a year later, continues to be a promise that the new government has upheld.
    In March this year the ALP in Western Australia swept the Liberal-WA Nationals Government out of office, achieving the greatest election victory in that state’s history.
    Labor in WA promised not to raise taxes but in its first budget the new McGowan Government has broken that promise only six months into its term, plus announcing substantial funding cuts and seeking thousands of voluntary public service redundancies.
    In both cases, with one government upholding its election campaign promise (NT) and the other breaking its promise (WA) we have arguments from political opponents and the business sector that both governments are putting their respective economies at risk.
    What is the price for breaking key election promises, especially so early in office? The analysis of the WA situation written by ABC journalist Jessica Strutt provides an interesting perspective.
    Conversely in the NT we are confronted by the bizarre situation where not only the CLP opposition but the Federal Government are demanding that the NT Government break its election commitment.
    It surely comes as no surprise that public cynicism towards politics in general must run deep.
    Finally, it’s interesting to note that CLP President Shane Stone has added his voice in criticism of the NT Government’s fracking moratorium.
    Mr Stone would undoubtedly recall the circumstances the re-elected CLP government faced after its election victory in October 1990, when he was first elected as the Member for Port Darwin.
    Six months later the NT Government announced major expenditure cutbacks and public service redundancies as it wrestled with a dire economic situation and substantially reduced revenue from the Commonwealth markedly similar to the situation the McGowan Government in WA contends with today.
    The CLP did not lose office in the 1990s as a consequence.
    Indeed, Shane Stone led the CLP to one of its greatest election victories on August 30, 1997 (exactly 20 years ago), winning 18 seats including the previously safe Labor seat of MacDonnell – markedly similar to the current situation under Labor Chief Minister Michael Gunner.
    Yet in the following election the CLP lost office for the first time.
    Read from this what you will.

  3. It seems Shane Stone is joining those other tired, mostly retired and now irrelevant politicians such as Tony Abbott, Tony Blair and Hillary Clinton in harping from the sidelines.
    I especially like his call for the fracking industry to be governed by world’s best practice and science-based regulations.
    World’s best practice has failed to protect water aquifers all around the world, and science-based regulations is just another way of saying you can’t criticise what I’m saying because I have science on my side.
    Bullshit. Anyone not liking what one scientist says need only shop around. It’s never hard to find a contrary opinion.

  4. It is an absurd and fanciful position for the CLP to take in believing that oil and gas exploration is capable of protecting our natural assets and agricultural industries.
    Climate Change is already emerging as one of the biggest threats to land productivity and oil and gas exploration will only further degrade productivity.
    Oil and gas employs a negligible proportion of the NT working population and provides a minuscule amount of revenue for the Territory Government.
    It is capital intensive and polluting regardless of how “robust” a regulatory system could be.
    Oil and gas is dwindling in its importance to the economy as renewable energy establishes its rightful place as a sustainable, affordable and healthy form of energy.
    The CLP continues to prove their political ineptitude and that they are incapable of providing a vision for the future of the Territory by adopting this position.

  5. The arguments here over who is right or wrong are really moot.
    The real question is how are we as a Territory going to pay for the services that our citizens need / demand.
    If selling gas is the only option, then we sell gas.
    We can no longer expect taxpayers in other struggling regional areas of the country to subsidise us $5.28 for every $1 we collect in GST revenues.
    And just to highlight my personal views – I didn’t vote for the ALP because of their views on fracking / 50% renewables (which is totally unaffordable).
    I voted for them because they weren’t Adam Giles.

  6. We’re still waiting on that “creation of a robust regulatory regime”. I don’t think any robust regime could ever effectively manage the risks to water or the environment.
    But really, the big issue here with fracking is climate change.
    The CLP don’t seem to have heard of this term. Perhaps they should look it up.

  7. Could all CLP voters please attend the panel discussion “Nature and Humanity – Where Has Western Thought Gone Wrong?” tonight at 5:30pm.
    Hosted by Goethe-Institut Australien, held at CDU Sadadeen in the lecture theatre.

  8. Reminds me of a song: When will they ever learn.
    Not looking good for this lot, at least in the short term. You have to wonder sometimes.

  9. Are the CLP members who voted in favour of this policy going to deal with the legacy that a relatively short lived unconventional hydrocarbon extraction industry will leave in its wake?
    The US experience hasn’t been as rosy as what the companies would have us believe.
    Shale wells produce the most within the first year, following that there is rapid decline in flow, resulting in vastly reduced royalties.
    Add to that, the US boom was helped by existing infrastructure in place and on-ground work force. Here in the NT we don’t even have decent public access roads, meaning a huge upgrade to many highways and roads to year round / all weather access for heavy vehicles.
    And then we have the issue of all of these wells being handed to the regulator once the companies have deemed them to be no longer commercially viable, and take the steps of abandonment, or (as the US experience has shown) orphan, the thousands of wells that will be required to drain the shale.
    Once returned to the regulator, each and every one of these wells then becomes a financial burden on the public purse, requiring ongoing monitoring and remediation in perpetuity.

  10. Have you noticed that it is not called “fracking” when the libs and other interested parties try to talk it up but they talk about “onshore gas extraction” or “production” trying to give the impression it is more or less the same as extracting LPG.
    Shane doesn’t seem to comprehend that the average Territorian has moved on since his time in office and that is why he is not in office.


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