The Northern Territory Labor Government cannot be trusted to properly map out ‘no go’ zones for fracking given its disregard for key Pepper Inquiry recommendations and lack of consultation with local communities so far.
The government is due to release its no-go-zone maps tomorrow, however Protect Country Alliance says the process to determine frack free areas has so far ignored sustained opposition from local landholders and communities and will occur in the absence of necessary studies to determine what level of risk gasfields would pose in target areas.
Protect Country Alliance spokesman Graeme Sawyer said the NT Government had trashed its credibility after it defied Pepper Inquiry recommendations by allowing the creation of open air fracking waste ponds.
“The Government’s no go zone mapping process refuses protection for vital water catchment areas for major surface and underground water system, including the recharge areas for the Roper River and the internationally significant Lake Woods region,” he said.
“This mapping process will also inevitably ignore opposition from Native Title holders and pastoralists across the Roper, Gulf and Barkly regions, who have no legal rights to object to fracking, but have consistently and loudly called for protection of their land.”
Mudburra Traditional Owner Ray Dixon, whose land overlies the Beetaloo gas basin, said, “Origin Energy want to build a fracking gasfield in the catchment areas for Newcastle Waters and Lake Woods. My people, they cherish this country, it's like a diamond to them. We’re very concerned these significant waterways will still be at risk from fracking under the government’s narrow approach to no-go-zones.”
“People don’t realise that for the majority of Aboriginal people living in the NT, we don’t have any rights to say what happens on our traditional lands. The no-go-zone process further locks in a power in balance where fracking companies can drill, frack and contaminate our land without consent.”
“This is a decision that we want to make for our land, but our land does not come under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act - I have no legal right to stop fracking there. But that will not stop us from doing everything we can to protect country from risky fracking.”