The State Government must protect the Channel Country’s producers, communities, tourism and pristine rivers as promised, says Lock the Gate Alliance.
The group’s Community Engagement Coordinator, Annie Kia said that prior to the state election, the ALP had promised to protect the region, but it was now under further threat following a recent announcement that an additional 11,000 sq kms would be given over to unconventional oil and gas exploration.
Ms Kia said the proposal threatened the already drought-ravaged region. She questioned this week’s announcement of a $500,000 marketing campaign aimed at getting tourists to an area that would be wrecked by mining.
“Beef producers and communities that depend on the pastoral industry are reeling from drought and these mining plans will do nothing to help them with sustainable solutions,” she said.
“Gas miners would use extensive fracking to extract the gas from the shale rock and this includes the use of toxic chemicals. Fracking guzzles water and there are no answers to where the extra water will come from and how the vast amounts of toxic flow-back water can be managed.
“The extraction process involves many hundreds of wells, pipelines, treatment plants and waste infrastructure and this blight on the landscape will impact tourism as well as pastoral interests.
“Lock the Gate believes people have a right to be fully informed and engaged in the decisions that will shape their future. For far too long, decisions affecting rural and regional Australians have been made by people who don't have to live with the consequences.”
She was also concerned that Mithaka Traditional Owners were dismayed at the lack of consultation before the government released its media statement about the proposal.
“The people that know and love this country, indigenous and non-indigenous, need to have a say in what happens here. We will offer a more balanced view of the costs, benefits and impacts of the unconventional gas industry than the one provided by the industry's spin-doctors,” she said.
Ms Kia will meet locals at Longreach, Windorah and Jundah from June 3 to 11 and will be available for interview.