National shock and community support for Traditional Owners has been the response to learning that Australian tourism icon Kings Canyon in the Watarrka National Park in the Northern Territory is under threat from gas fracking.
Repeated requests by Watarrka Traditional Owners to the Northern Territory Government to protect the Park from fracking were ignored. The voices of united Traditional Owners are today in Canberra to take a strong message to Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt and lodge an emergency heritage application under Federal environment laws.
"Australians everywhere are shocked to learn the Government would even consider going against the wishes of the Traditional Owners to allow gas fracking in Watarrka (Kings Canyon) National Park," said Naomi Hogan of the Lock the Gate Alliance.
"It’s a disgrace that the Northern Territory Government has ignored the Watarrka Traditional Owners and joint managers who want to protect the Park from gas fracking.
"Chief Minister Adam Giles and Northern Territory Mines Minister Dave Tollner have left the Traditional Owners of Watarrka no avenues but to involve the Federal Government.
"The Northern Territory and Federal governments needs to start listening to the joint managers and Traditional Owners of the Park and protect their sacred place from fracking forever.
"There is an outpouring of support from community members across Australia who want to see Watarrka protected from fracking and the Traditional Owners supported to save their sacred country.
"Fracking gasfield industrialisation would disrupt this iconic and popular tourist destination, while putting precious groundwater springs at risk.
"Environment Minister Greg Hunt must now step in and use his power under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 to put the Park off limits to fracking," she said.