Morrison Government Resources Minister Keith Pitt’s re-announcement of millions in taxpayer-funded subsidies to a fracking company with links to the Liberal Party is an insult to the Northern Territory’s communities, businesses, and environment.
Mr Pitt used the Energy Club NT’s $960 a table pro-fracking dinner event to make the announcement. He was billed as the star attraction of the exclusive event, held at the DoubleTree by Hilton on Darwin’s Esplanade, however was unable to attend after testing positive to Covid-19 last week.
Dozens of Territorians protested outside the event yesterday, calling for a ban on fracking.
The re-announcement of the $19M in grants for fracking company Empire Energy’s subsidiary Imperial Oil and Gas comes after the Federal Court ruled the initial funding wasn’t lawful because Mr Pitt granted it in the middle of an active legal challenge.
Protect Country Alliance spokesperson Graeme Sawyer said Mr Pitt’s grants were nothing more than corporate welfare.
“The fracking industry is operating on subsidies and has become like a parasite, sucking more from our governments and communities than it returns.
“If Mr Pitt feels like throwing around $20 million of taxpayer money, he could at least invest it in an industry that is sustainable and has a long term future.
“This $20M would have gone a long way for remote communities, agriculture, renewable energy, and tourism in the NT, but instead it just lines the pockets of the fracking industry.
“Fracking is an expensive operation that produces expensive gas, particularly in remote areas like the heart of the NT.
“Let’s be clear, any gas that is produced in the NT will not be for the domestic market - it is going straight overseas to further inflate the global gas price.
“Ninety-nine point nine percent of Territorians won’t benefit from this industry - instead we will suffer as fracking pollutes our rivers and groundwater, and drives dangerous climate change that is already leading to never before seen heat records in the Top End.
“Fracking is an industry that financially benefits a miniscule few at the expense of many, and the few who stand to gain financially were the ones hobnobbing over $960 a table dinners at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Darwin last night.”