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NT Budget 16-17: $6 million gifted to shale fracking, reality check needed on mining and onshore gas royalties

Despite a budget mantra that acknowledges the need to tighten spending, in part due to unexpectedly low mining royalty collections, Tollner’s budget continues to throw good money after bad, dishing out $5.95 million for shale gas fracking support over the next financial year [1]

“This budget spends $5.95 million of Territory tax payers’ money on gas ‘industry grants’ and ‘accelerated’ assessment of the Territory’s shale gas,” said Naomi Hogan, of the NT Lock the Gate Alliance.

“Have Territory residents been consulted on whether they want $6 million of our public funds spent propping up the uncommercial and polluting onshore shale gas industry?

“If the onshore gas fracking industry is so viable, why can’t they spend their own money on gas exploration and assessment?

“Mining and petroleum royalties contribution to the NT were down $62 million less than what was forecast in the budget just one year ago[2].

“These falling financial trends for mining and onshore gas are Australian wide and set to continue, and the government needs to have its eyes open to these realities.

“Minister Tollner and Chief Minister Giles have put a bet on with Territorians’ money for onshore gas fracking, and they have picked a loosing horse.

“This budget is clutching at onshore gas straws, while ignoring the industry is in downturn, right across Australia.

“New reports last week show there is no market demand for expensive fracked shale gas from the Territory[3].

“Any royalites at all may be fanciful considering the world market is in a gas glut set to cause problems for the onshore gas fracking industry for decades.

“It’s irresponsible to link future education payments through “Knowledge Territory” to an extraction industry that is in downturn and struggling to meet financial expectations.

“It’s very likely the hoped onshore gas piggy bank will be empty,” she said.



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