Northern Territory pastoralists have slammed the Gunner Government for failing to finalise land access agreement legislation before gas companies started to frack.
Landholder concerns have been heightened with gas company Santos already fracking and Origin about to commence and intending to continue to frack throughout the wet, despite the ongoing lack of land access laws.
Daniel Tapp of Big River Station said the government had previously said the legislation would be in effect by now, yet the government had failed.
“The Gunner Government is dragging its feet on this legislation and landholders will suffer as a result,” he said.
“Ideally we wouldn’t even be having this conversation, but since fracking has been forced upon us, the very least the government could do is to get its laws in place so we have some certainty.
“The frackers are already injecting their polluting, chemical fluids into the ground on properties across the Territory, and the government has been caught napping.”
Gulf Region Pastoralist Frank Shadforth said the NT’s economic, agricultural, and environmental reputations had been damaged.
“We’re struggling with drought and extreme weather from cyclones, yet the NT Government is forcing us to compete for water with the gas fracking companies,” he said.
“The NT Government is prioritising the water rights of gas frackers over the sustainable pastoral industry that employs thousands of Territorians.
“Fellow NT pastoralists had to use the courts to assert their rights against the frackers earlier this year. At that time, the NT Government said land access requirements and compensation laws would be dealt with by the end of the year.
“Clearly, that has not happened - this government is running roughshod over the pastoralists that are the backbone of the NT’s economy.”