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NT Fracking Inquiry report released today shows unresolved risk from gasfields

Lock the Gate Alliance has welcomed the release of the NT Fracking Inquiry Draft Final Report. The draft report is an comprehensive body of work that identifies a host of risks associated with fracking gasfields, including the potential to harm drinking water and public health and spread contaminants.

“This report confirms what thousands of concerned Territorians have been saying; that fracking gasfields come with a myriad of risks that would put an incredible burden on the Territory,” said Naomi Hogan, National Coordinator for the Lock the Gate Alliance.

“Even with 120 recommendations to attempt to avoid the worst of the fracking pollution risks, the Panel finds that there is significant potential for accidental releases, leaks and spills of hydraulic fracturing chemicals and fluids, flowback and produced water.

“We could be buried under the weight of all the risks and potential negative impacts coming from the fracking industry.

“Communities and landholders will now redouble efforts to ensure our parliamentary leaders understand and act on the risks identified through this report,” said Ms Hogan.

Mark Swindells, owner/operator of the award-winning Uluru Camel Tours in Central Australia said the report confirms the concerns of tourism operators across the Territory who fear industrial gasfields will detract from the tourism values of their regions and iconic visitor spots:

“Any recommendations that allow for the moratorium to be lifted are a concern for Tourism operators in the NT. For tourism to maintain growth in the NT there should be a total ban on fracking," he said.

Melissa Bury from the Frack-free Fannie Bay community group in the Chief Minister’s electorate says the report confirms the real costs for long-term management and monitoring of gasfields will be borne by taxpayers.

“Economists at the Inquiry hearings and the ACIL Allen economic report found that the jobs figures the fracking industry had been pushing were grossly overstated.

“The draft report identifies a shopping list of reforms needed to try and reduce fracking industry risks. It would likely put a strain on our economy and under resourced regulators that would far outweigh any potential economic benefits.

“I don’t think any Territorian would put faith in the Government to protect us from the full list of fracking risks. It’s our water at stake. It’s not worth the risk for such a short term and tiny employer,” she said.

Raymond Dixon is a custodian for land at the centre of proposed gasfields in the Beetaloo sub-Basin near Elliott:

“Our communities are at the centre of proposed fracking activity and stand to be most-impacted if the government allows fracking to go ahead. Our entire region is connected through underground aquifers and surface water during the Wet. We are concerned that flooded gasfields can spread poisons over our pastoral lands, important cultural areas and destroy the drinking water of thousands of local people. We refuse to be forced into a gasfield.

“That is why we will continue to stand strong and say no, and we are calling on the Chief Minister to act now to protect our region from this damaging industry,” he said.

Territorians are encouraged to attend the final round of community consultations slated for early 2018, and speak to their local representatives to ensure they vote with communities to protect land, water and livelihoods following the release of the final report in March 2018.

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