Monday, May 27, 2024

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HomeIssue 1Fracking consultation meaningless charade

Fracking consultation meaningless charade

The candid response from the Department of the Chief Minister yesterday to questions from the Alice Springs News Online has made two things crystal clear.
Firstly, the notion of social license for fracking is a cynical farce: Fracking can go ahead if the people grant it social licence. Sure. And if the people deny it social licence it can go ahead just the same. The people have no power in the matter.
Secondly, the last thing the multi million dollar inquiry put in place by Michael Gunner wants is to find out how many people want fracking, and how many don’t, as naive believers in democracy may have been expecting.
The inquiry, as of yesterday, had 530 written submissions. But the inquiry “has not undertaken an analysis of which submissions support or oppose fracking. This was not a requirement of the Terms of Reference”.
That means the thousands of people (including those who attended meetings) hoping to influence their government’s decision – either way – have been lured into a meaningless charade of “consultation”. Again, the people have no power in the matter.
At least the government has owned up.
Now it’s time for the anti and pro fracking lobbies to do the same. Dressing up as bilbies, flashing banners, attending meetings, writing thunderous letters to the editor, having your say (“the Inquiry welcomes your comments and feedback at any time”) might produce that warm feeling in the tummy. But you’re in the wrong jurisdiction for making a difference.
This “scientific” enquiry is short on one scince: The one that inquires into what the majority wants.


  1. Clean water supply sustains Alice Springs. Forget law and order. Alice will be gone. Tourism will disappear, along with cash for locals.

  2. Thankyou Erwin for your honest opinion. It’s such a shame that your counterparts don’t share your honesty. The fracking inquiry has long been thought of as an expensive / distracting attempt by a Gunner Government short on ideas and economic credentials as the answer to their economic woes – created by the Henderson Government in the first place.
    The fracking inquiry, run by people we Territorians we have never heard of, and will never hear of again after the inquiry, is a massive JOKE on us, the temporary care takers of this precious land. The inquiry was set up to seduce us into believing that fracking can continue with what ever rubbish rules and regulations they put in place.
    It’s a sad day when the population is to be convinced that fracking is a good thing, in the full knowledge that the safety of our water ways and water tables cannot be guaranteed if fracking is allowed.
    But that wont be a problem for the Pepper panel, they won’t be here in the next couple of months or the ensuing years to drink our water. Only we will.

  3. It has long been my belief that current political parties are too reliant on funds and post political career opportunities from lobby groups such as the mining industry.
    Recent appointments to mining related sinecures of former NT politicians increase my suspicions.
    Public consultation in this environment is meant to make the public feel it has a part in the decision. However the rule for political parties is that they govern for the benefit of their donors.

  4. Having worked and lived in Alice from 1965 through 1999, I am very familiar with the water needs and supplies the locals depend on.
    Now living in Colorado on the edge of Weld county, I am fully aware of the damage that fracking can do to the environment.
    As we all know fracking is carried out below the water table. It also requires the pumping of harmful mixtures of chemicals into the ground to assist in fracturing the rock below the water table.
    This then allows the mixture pumped into the ground to rise and mix with the natural water.
    So, apart from the chemical mixture pumped in, there is the waste product mixed with your water coming to the surface that needs to be disposed.
    Alice as we know relies on this water for survival.
    These fracking companies use millions of gallons of water at each fracking site, and there is only one place they can get the water and we know where that is.
    Don’t let them frack up a wonderful fragile environment. Keep them out.


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