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Keith Pitt’s gas and oil basin “release” full of hot air

Resource Minister Keith Pitt’s enthusiasm to sacrifice sustainable outback agricultural enterprises and the last free flowing desert rivers in the world to fracking might win support from the extraction industry, but is utterly removed from reality, according to Lock the Gate Alliance.

Mr Pitt reportedly told the APPEA conference in Perth today that the Cooper Basin in Queensland and South Australia was the next cab off the rank for the Morrison Government’s “Strategic Basin Plan”, part of its ongoing fracking attack on farmland, water, and the environment.

“The Cooper Basin underlies the Lake Eyre Basin, which includes globally significant desert rivers that have been earmarked for protection in Queensland since 2014,” said Lock the Gate Alliance Queensland spokesperson Ellie Smith.

“Keith Pitt can talk about fracking Lake Eyre Basin all he wants, but the fact is it is the states who make decisions on fracking applications, and Queensland has an unfulfilled promise to protect the floodplains.

“His comments totally ignore widespread local opposition to gas and oil extraction on the globally significant Channel Country floodplains.

“This push will put at risk the clean, green export beef industry in the area, the tourism sector, and important cultural sites for Traditional Owners.

“Mr Pitt should be sticking up for Queenslanders and the agricultural sector, not sacrificing them to appease multinational fracking giants.”

Channel Country grazier Angus Emmott said, “The Cooper Basin underlies the heartland of Queensland’s Channel Country - this is one of the world’s last remaining great free-flowing desert river and wetland systems.”

“Plans to open up the Cooper Basin for unconventional gas fracking would be insensitive to the graziers and Traditional Owners of the Channel Country who have been fighting for many years to keep this river system protected from industrial activity such as gas fracking. 

“Such activity would compromise the Channel Country way of life and the desire for a sustainable future built on agriculture and tourism.

“Every drilling rig will need a road, a pipeline and perhaps even a wastewater storage pond. This will result in an industrialised landscape - threatening the nature, water, people and organic pastures the Channel Country is known for.”

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