Northern Territory anti-fracking groups are calling on the NT Government to embrace a visionary future that leaves dirty fossil fuels in the past, following Chief Minister Michael Gunner’s resignation today.
Multiple fracking-related scandals rocked Mr Gunner’s time as Chief Minister, the most recent being the referral of the government’s handling of an environmental baseline research contract to the Territory’s Independent Commissioner Against Corruption.
“Mr Gunner leaves a legacy of hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars wasted in a foolish attempt to prop up the polluting fracking industry, leaving our economy dangerously exposed to stranded assets and high cost structures,” said Protect Country Alliance spokesperson Graeme Sawyer.
“Under Mr Gunner’s watch, the NT Government catastrophically failed to implement the Pepper Inquiry recommendations - the bare minimum required to protect the community from the scourge of fracking.
“His replacement must chart a different course. Territorians need a brave Chief Minister who is willing to stand up to Canberra and make decisions that are in the NT’s best interest. Mr Gunner’s support of the fracking industry betrayed the very people he was elected to represent.”
Arid Lands Environment Centre Fracking Campaign coordinator Hannah Ekin said the Territory’s energy future was in renewable power, not fossil fuels.
“Today’s budget shows the NT remains in the economic doldrums, and unleashing dirty polluting fracking on communities is only going to make the situation worse," she said.
“We know, from the experience in Queensland and in other parts of the world, that the unconventional oil and gas industry is a job taker, not a job maker. It drives other, more sustainable industries out when it expands like a festering sore across the landscape.
“Whoever becomes the new Chief Minister must implement policy that plays to the Territory’s strengths - sustainable tourism and agriculture, our world class solar energy opportunities, and the unique and innovative spirit of Territorians themselves.
“The new Chief Minister must be more than just a lackey for Canberra. We need a leader who is brave enough to send the fracking companies packing, and who will welcome industries that, unlike fracking, will benefit all Territorians.”