A $50m Federal handout for frackers has raised the hackles of the environmental lobby but it receiving support from the NT’s CLP Senator Sam McMahon (pictured in a party promotion).
She says she supports the Coalition Government plans to accelerate gas exploration and development in the Northern Territory’s Beetaloo sub-basin “to create thousands of jobs, provide significant economic benefits to the region and ensure Australia remains a world leader in the production of natural gas”.
But Protect Country Alliance spokesperson Graeme Sawyer says: “Taxpayers’ cash propping up the polluting gas fracking industry in the NT … clearly shows is that fracking for gas is not economically viable without massive subsidies.
“Just yesterday, the European Commission proposed rules to restrict funding for LNG projects and instead funnel cash into low-carbon technologies to meet climate goals.
“Yet the dinosaurs in the Morrison Government remain ideologically in bed with the fracking industry,” Mr Sawyer said.
“Put money into any other industry in Australia and you’ll create more jobs.
“We know from other jurisdictions that when the fracking industry comes to town, it leads to a net decrease in job opportunities because it muscles out other industries and does not create the same jobs as, for example, agriculture.”
Meanwhile Bruce Robertson, LNG/gas analyst with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, says the funding “is a sink-hole which the gas industry itself isn’t even investing in”.
Senator McMahon is joined by Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt who says he Government’s approach would speed up exploration and production in the Beetaloo basin by around two years.
“The Government will provide up to $50m for exploration that occurs before 30 June 2022, allowing the benefits of this important asset to be realised sooner.
“The funding will fast track drilling by providing grants to cover 25% of eligible exploration costs, capped at $7.5m per well and three wells per exploration venture.
“The Beetaloo Basin has been described as the ‘hottest play on the planet’ with the potential to be a world-class gas resource, transform the Northern Territory economy and generate 6,000 jobs by 2040.”
Says Senator McMahon: “The Northern Territory’s Geological Survey estimates the sub-basin could hold more than 200,000 petajoules of gas.
“Even if only a very conservative 10% of that gas was recovered, it could still supply Australia’s domestic gas demand for more than 10 years.”