Territorians who have fought to stop the fracking industry gaining any more ground in the NT will deliver first hand testimonies during today’s (Tuesday March 22) Darwin-based Senate Hearing of the inquiry into oil and gas exploration and production in the Beetaloo Basin.
The Darwin hearing follows earlier Canberra-based hearings which exposed the links between the Liberal Party and Empire Energy - a fracking company that received $19 million worth of federal grants under the Morrison Government’s Industry Research and Development (Beetaloo Cooperative Drilling Program) Instrument 2021.
Lock the Gate Alliance has also analysed the cumulative impact of the Environmental Management Plans submitted by fracking companies in the NT so far.
It shows that proposed and existing exploration wells are already planning to use over 2,272 million litres of water. That’s over 908 Olympic swimming pools – just for initial exploration wells.
Mudburra Traditional Owner Ray Dixon, whose Country near Newcastle Waters is threatened by fracking, will speak at the Senate Hearing.
He said, “The biggest thing for us is how fracking companies risk our water. Governments and mining companies can’t fix the water table if it gets contaminated. They can’t just replace the water table.
“We’re the mob who looks after country, water, and big history here. We hold a lot of cultural sites, sacred sites. We want to protect Country, water, and history and keep it safe for future generations so they can learn and carry on.
“Giving money to fracking companies is bad. Aboriginal people should be looked after a bit more with better housing, better job opportunities. That funding should be used to get ranger jobs happening so Country can be looked after.
“We’re born and raised on Country and we want to see money spent protecting it and looking after Aboriginal people in a way that treats us equally."
Dan Robins, who will speak at the hearing on behalf of Lock the Gate Alliance, said, “It’s significant for Territorians to see the Senate Inquiry coming to Darwin because it gives us the opportunity to tell politicians that we don’t want public money spent on dangerous fracking projects.
“The gas companies’ own documents show that they will use 2,272 million litres of water just for these early exploration wells, which is 908 Olympic swimming pools going down the gurgler.
“Giving more public money to water-guzzling fracking companies is a slap in the face for pastoralists and remote communities currently dealing with low rainfall and rising temperatures in the Beetaloo Basin.
“Territorians do not want millions of tax payers dollars handed out to private fracking companies who risk polluting ground water, disrespecting Traditional Owners, and leaving Territorians to deal with the mess” he said.