Opposition leader Bill Shorten’s plan to create a $1.5 billion fund to encourage the unconventional gas industry in Queensland and the Northern Territory is a disastrous move for landholders, regional communities, and the climate, according to Lock the Gate Alliance.
Responding to reports a Shorten Government, if elected, would replace the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility with a fund to encourage onshore gas projects, LTGA spokesperson Naomi Hogan said the announcement would not win votes during an election where climate change was at the forefront of people’s minds.
“The unconventional gas industry is a massive carbon polluter,” she said.
“Fracking for gas in the Northern Territory’s Beetaloo Basin could unleash a carbon disaster that would make it impossible for Australia to meet our Paris targets.
“It will raise Australia’s emissions by 6%, at a time we need to be bringing them down.
“Fracking the gas out of the Beetaloo Basin has been measured to be the pollution equivalent of building and operating at least 50 new coal fired power stations - it’s the wrong move for Australia.
“The CO2 emissions created during the extraction and transport process are far greater than any offsets created by burning the gas for power.
“The industry has also still been unable to address the issue of releasing methane emissions from gas wells.
“Federal Labor has ruled out NAIF funding for the climate wrecking project of Adani, how can it justify propping up an industry that will trash the Northern Territory with fracking?”
There is a growing body of evidence which suggests that the scale of methane emissions from unconventional gas mining and fracking makes it potentially more polluting than coal when burnt for electricity.
Ms Hogan said Mr Shorten’s announcement was a slap in the face for regional communities fighting against the invasive unconventional gas industry, particularly those in the Northern Territory.
“Territorians are overwhelmingly opposed to the onshore gas fracking industry,” she said.
“There have been ongoing protests since the Gunner Government lifted the moratorium on the fracking industry last year, and these will no doubt increase if a future Shorten Government ignores the will of the people and encourages fracking in the NT.”