Concerned Territorians have paid Environment Minister Eva Lawler a surprise visit at her electorate office in Palmerston in response to her sneaky decision to approve Origin Energy’s plan to frack the Beetaloo Basin two days before Christmas.
The community members called on the Minister to apologise for the “underhanded decision” to sign off on fracking during the Christmas period and amid a national bushfire crisis.
They also called on Minister Lawler to hold a public meeting to discuss Origin’s fracking plans with the community.
The surprise visit comes just days after horizontal drilling at a jointly owned Falcon Oil and Gas/Origin Energy gas well in the Beetaloo Basin failed.
Protect Country Alliance spokesperson Dan Robins said Minister Lawler was trying to steal Territorians’ futures with her poorly made decision to approve Origin’s fracking plans.
“Fracking in the Northern Territory could release more than 22 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent,” Mr Robins said.
“According to media reports, this is equivalent to more than 20 years of Australia’s emissions, which is completely inappropriate at this time.
“Origin Energy also admits it would use up to 60 million litres of water for a single fracked well. In a place where water is as precious as the NT, this is totally unacceptable.”
Bodil Conroy, who lives in Minister Lawler’s electorate of Drysdale, said, “We were shocked Minister Lawler tried to rush through these latest fracking approvals while the nation was battling with a bushfire crisis and families were on holiday.”
“The Minister should hold a public meeting to discuss the Gunner Government’s plans for fracking in the Territory and refuse to sign off on all future fracking plans until she has met with community members.”
Ray Dixon, a Mudburra Traditional Owner from the Marlinja community whose land overlies the Beetaloo Sub-Basin, also attended the community action to send a message to the Environment Minister.
His message to Minister Lawler was, “As a native title holder from the surrounding area we were not told that you had signed off on Origin’s fracking plans before Christmas. I would like to see that we are getting clear information from the Environment Minister especially when we heard about Origin and Falcon’s drilling failures in the Beetaloo Basin this week.”