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Water trigger win for communities facing fracking

Territorians have welcomed the passing of the Nature Repair Bill in the Lower House today.

The legislation expands the so-called “water trigger” from coal and coal seam gas projects to also include tight and shale gas fracking, so the Federal Government will now need to assess fracking projects after receiving advice from the Independent Expert Scientific Committee.

Community groups and Traditional Owners say the expansion of the water trigger will add a much needed layer of additional scrutiny and transparency on the numerous fracking projects planned for the Northern Territory’s Roper-Gulf and Barkly regions, WA’s Kimberley, and Queensland’s Lake Eyre Basin.

Mudburra Elder Ray Dimakarri Dixon, from Marlinja Community north of Elliott, said, “We’ve been standing up for water and the environment for so long. We are doing this for our country, our past leaders and future generations. This is the biggest thing in my life. Water keeps our language, our culture, and our identity strong. It connects all Indigenous people. We want to thank all environmental groups for their support. We also want to thank the Greens, the Independent cross bench and Federal Labor for helping us to protect our water and country from these fracking giants. The fight hasn’t gone away but I feel emotional and happy in my spirit. Our young people can learn from this moment.”

Mangarrayi Traditional Owner Jocelyn James, from Jilkminggan near the Mataranka Springs, said, “Today I am so happy. My country will be so happy too. I want to thank everyone for helping us get this water trigger. I am proud we went to Canberra for our young future and our country. I am happy they listened to us.”

Katherine vet and Protect Big Rivers spokesperson Dr Samantha Phelan said, “This is a great step forward, it is critical that the Federal Government assume oversight of northern territory water policy. 

“What’s also really important now is for the Federal Government to enable application of the water trigger to protect cultural heritage.”


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