LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – It has recently been revealed that when the NT Government decides to either lift the moratorium on fracking or ban the controversial process completely, the decision will not be made by a vote in the Legislative Assembly.
The fracking issue will be treated as a policy issue not a legislative matter. The Labor Caucus will discuss the matter and the eight member cabinet headed by Chief Minister Michael Gunner will then vote on it.
Seventeen members of the 25 member Legislative Assembly, two CLP Members, five Independents and 10 Labor Members will have no vote on the fracking issue when the decision is made.
Two thirds of the Northern Territory’s population live in electorates where their elected representatives in Parliament will have no voice on an issue that is arguably the most important issue that has ever been decided by the NT Government.
The Member for Braitling Dale Wakefield is a cabinet member, so constituents of her electorate will have a voice in the government’s decision on fracking. The Araluen Electorate of course is a different situation as their Independent MLA Robyn Lambley has no ministerial portfolio.
It is fairly obvious that big mining interests are unduly influencing the NT Government to allow them to frack the NT.
The Labor Government’s decision on fracking is to be made in a completely undemocratic manner. Labor should be thoroughly ashamed of itself for contriving to decide the matter this way, while knowing very well that the vast majority of Territorians are opposed to fracking.
ED: A government spokesman, when invited to comment, said: “We made a promise to Territorians at the last election that we would have an independent inquiry into the hydraulic fracturing of unconventional gas reserves in the Northern Territory.
“At the end of that inquiry we will either ban fracking in the Northern Territory or allow it in highly regulated circumstances in tightly prescribed areas.
“The Government will make its final decision about fracking based on the final report [to be release next month].”
LETTER TO THE EDITOR