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SLIPPERY BUSINESS: Serious concerns over ‘excluded from scope’ oil fracking plans in NT

Lock the Gate Alliance has condemned plans by resource companies, including Origin Energy, to frack for oil in the Northern Territory’s Beetaloo Basin, when the risks of shale oil fracking have not been considered.

Jesse Hancock, part of the Lock the Gate network in Alice Springs, said the scope of the Pepper Inquiry, used by the NT Government to justify removing the fracking moratorium last year, did not specifically include what’s being described by companies as “liquids rich gas”.*

“Fracking companies can call it by any name they want but it’s shale oil, and oil presents a much greater risk to communities, especially in terms of transportation,” Mr Hancock said.

“This is a case of resource companies and the NT Gunner Government pulling the wool over the eyes of NT residents.

“Communities at the frontline of this activity in the Beetaloo Basin - in the heart of the NT -  are rightfully anxious about what this latest development means for them.

“Ultimately, the Pepper Inquiry found that people in the NT are overwhelming opposed to fracking for gas, but now companies want to pursue the even riskier practice of fracking for oil.

“We can’t trust the gas and oil-loving Gunner Government - it has behaved in total contradiction to what it has said about transparency. This latest development is yet another betrayal.”

There has been strong community action opposed to fracking in the NT since the moratorium was removed last year, including a territory wide day of action, and the Frack Finding Tour, which transported a busload of Traditional Owners, farmers, and tourism operators to Canberra to lobby federal politicians last year.

“Even Labor Party members do not want fracking in the Territory,” Mr Hancock said.

“Last year at the Labor Party conference Labor members pushed back against the approval of fracking in the NT, and in Victoria, that state’s Labor Government has enshrined its fracking moratorium into its constitution.

“Why are Territorians being treated like second class citizens, with a government allowing fracking companies to run roughshod over communities?”

*See page 10 of the NT Pepper Inquiry final report, stating: Excluded from its scope is coal seam gas (CSG), sandstone (or ‘tight’) gas and shale oil.

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