Territory community groups have hit out at the NT Infrastructure Strategy released recently, saying it contains even more extraordinary rent-seeking by the gas fracking industry.
Discovered in the fine print of the NT Infrastructure Plan and Pipeline attached to the Strategy was a suggestion that public funds would be directed to the basic activities of operating a gasfield, including wastewater processing, gas compression and even airports.
The Strategy reveals that these activities, described as ‘enabling infrastructure for developing the Beetaloo Sub-basin’ have been listed on Infrastructure Australia’s Infrastructure Priority List (IPL).
Spokesperson for Arid Lands Environment Centre, Hannah Ekin, said “We couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw that the NT Infrastructure Strategy is trying to dress up basic gasfield operations as ‘infrastructure’ in order to make them eligible for public funding.
“It’s a total rort to describe managing toxic waste from gas fracking as ‘infrastructure’ and an even bigger rort to suggest it should be publicly funded.
“It’s bizarre that the gas industry has such little faith that it will ever make a buck from fracking in the Northern Territory that it’s now trying to get taxpayers to pay directly for its operations.
“We’re calling for the Federal Government to remove the Beetaloo Sub-basin from the Infrastructure Priority List and ensure that no public funds are spent on fracking the Territory, which would do little except put our water and climate at grave risk’ she said.
Protect Country spokesperson Graeme Sawyer said “This fake infrastructure push follows announcements by Resources Minister Madeleine King recently backing $1.5 billion in taxpayer funds for a gas-fired plastics and petrochemical hub at Middle Arm in Darwin.
“It is very disturbing to see the Federal Government on the one hand promising Pacific nations strong action on climate change and on the other hand moving to fund massive greenhouse emissions from new gasfields in the Territory.
“They need to urgently change course” he said.