Anti-fracking groups have condemned the Albanese Government’s appalling decision to spend $1.5 billion in taxpayer cash to build the Middle Arm Precinct in Darwin Harbour, designed mostly to facilitate gas and petrochemical developments.
The full-throated support for the Middle Arm precinct follows the release of a secretive memorandum of understanding, signed in April but only published in August, in which then Chief Minister Michael Gunner and then Prime Minister Scott Morrison agreed to fast track fracking and the Middle Arm development.
Protect Country Alliance spokesperson Graeme Sawyer said despite its name, there was nothing sustainable about the Middle Arm proposal (see government map below).
“This precinct, if it’s ever built, will exist predominantly to service the oil, gas, and petrochemical industries," he said.
“It’s a case of the fossil fuel and petrochemical industries capturing the NT and federal governments, pure and simple.
“The Darwin and Palmerston communities don’t want this polluting development. It will be an economic disaster and become a stranded asset as the International Energy Agency and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have warned.
“In fact, the Middle Arm precinct itself is likely to be one of the first places in the NT to go underwater as sea levels rise. This fossil fuel funding is a cruel climate crisis joke.
“Any climate credibility the Albanese Government might’ve achieved in its first few months in power has just been shot to pieces, and it’s the government that is holding the gun.”
Hannah Ekin from the Arid Lands Environment Centre said the funding announcement was a terrible outcome for the Territory and Australia.
“Publicly funded fossil fuel developments will drive the climate crisis and worsen the extreme heat already being experienced by many Territorians," she said.
“Subsidies like this prop up the otherwise unviable fracking industry. Companies like Origin Energy are exiting the Beetaloo because it makes no business sense to pursue polluting industries that have no future, so it's absurd for our government to bankroll it.”
Lock the Gate Alliance national coordinator Carmel Flint said, “The Albanese Government was elected on a platform of reinvigorating manufacturing in Australia on the basis of cheap renewable energy, but here they are bankrolling new manufacturing based on expensive polluting gas.
“This is a vast sum of public money designed to benefit big polluting fracking corporations at a time when the cost of living crisis is wreaking havoc on Australian families. It should be urgently reconsidered and those funds allocated where they are needed most," she said.
Background: The below image is from the Territory Government’s own Middle Arm Precinct factsheet and shows the majority of the facility will be used to process hydrocarbons from gas.