Gunner Government gives taxpayer cash to controversial company to fast track fracked gas pipeline

Published: September 08, 2020

Protect Country Alliance has condemned the NT Gunner Government for giving a company with a terrible track record $327,140 to undertake a feasibility study and engage with landholders over a fracked gas pipeline from Tennant Creek to Middle Arm.

The company, CNC Project Management, previously worked with Eastern Star Gas on failed land access agreements for a pipeline corridor through north west NSW that would service the yet-to-be constructed and fiercely opposed Narrabri Gas Project, now owned by Santos.

At the time, landholders labeled CNC a bully and said the company threatened locals into signing agreements to allow the pipeline to pass through their private properties. 

David Quince, the Chairman of the Mullaley Gas Pipeline Accord said, “CNC is a company with absolutely no integrity whatsoever who will use any means; misleading, bullying, threatening tactics to try to get landholders to agree to having gas pipelines run through their properties.

“We were extremely horrified by the conduct of this company, CNC Project Management.”  

Graeme Sawyer from Protect Country Alliance said, “the pressure upon government departments by Michael Gunner and the compromised NT Economic Reconstruction Commission to fast track fracked gas infrastructure could lead to unnecessary pressure being placed on landholders.”  

“This is yet another example of a decision being made that is clearly not in the public’s interest.

“I am extremely concerned that this government is again spending taxpayer dollars to subsidise fracked gas infrastructure that will provide no benefits for Territorians and will in fact harm future generations.

“There have been numerous gas pipeline explosions across the USA as shale gas companies rushed to pull fracked gas out of the ground. Those same gas companies are now going bankrupt. The Gunner Government should stand up to the gas lobbyists in the NT Economic Reconstruction Commission and listen to the people of the NT when they say shale gas is unsafe, unviable and unpopular.”

The proposed pipeline would travel close to Tennant Creek, Elliott, Newcastle Waters, Daly Waters, Larrimah, Mataranka, Katherine, Pine Creek, Marakai and end at Middle Arm. 

Native Title Holder Ray Dimakarri Dixon from Marlinja Community near Newcastle Waters said he was concerned the pipeline could be built on black soils that make up Mudburra land. 

A study commissioned by the Mullaley Gas Pipeline Accord showed gas pipelines should not be built on black soil as it would often lead to the pipeline becoming exposed after significant rainfall events. 

“Black soil country is a bad spot during the wet season for anything like this pipeline,” Mr Dixon said.

“It’ll get moved around if it’s on flat country and black soil country with all the water pushing around during the wet season.

“No one consulted with us for this pipeline. It makes us feel like we’re nothing in this area. We live on country, we’re born on country, and we don’t know what’s happening, only once everything is decided, then we get told.

“That issue that happened in NSW will apply for us here - nobody came out and warned us about it or let us know about it.”

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