A Facebook announcement by Chief Minister Adam Giles over the weekend for “Knowledge Territory,” promoting education vouchers if the Territory receives royalty payments from onshore gas fracking, is being described on his page as 'blackmail,' 'a con,' and 'holding our children’s education to ransom.'
In the face of less-than-expected royalties flowing in QLD from onshore gas and a lack of any commercially proven onshore shale gas reserves in the NT, Chief Minister Giles’ voucher package appears on shaky ground.
"Refusing to provide basic educational support unless Territorians back fracking is nothing short of blackmail," said Naomi Hogan of the Lock the Gate Alliance NT.
"Expecting big royalties from fracked gas in the NT is a delusion.
"We only have to look across the border to QLD, where royalties from the 6,000 unconventional gas wells drilled there have only delivered a quarter of the royalty funds expected. 
"QLD paper The Courier Mail reported the reality last year, stating: The promise of a flood of royalty revenue from the coal seam gas boom is evaporating.
"This announcement flies in the face of the reality of bugger all royalty payments from onshore gas fracking and the true costs to Territorians if we allow the gas industry to frack thousands of wells across the Territory.
"Any meagre royalty payments from fracking companies in the NT are likely to be needed for repairing the damage the industry is known to cause to roads and public infrastructure, to clean up the pollution and legacy issues from thousands of fracked wells, and to deal with the negative social impacts of FIFO mining camps on regional and remote communities.
"As the NT election draws closer, the Chief Minister appears to be reaching new lows in an attempt to sell the CLP’s position of supporting gas fracking across the Territory,” she said.
Despite the already low royalty rates, gas companies such as Origin who are planning to frack in the Territory are currently appealing QLD Government royalty decisions, trying to reduce the royalty amount they pay even further.