Territory taxpayers won’t pay for high-risk fracking industry
Chief Minister Michael Gunner is spending millions in taxpayer funds to subsidise and promote the high risk, low return fracking industry across the NT - against the wishes of a majority of Territorians.
With the NT budget in a black hole, we simply can’t afford to let fracking companies swindle the Territory, taking the profit overseas while local communities are left to clean up the mess.
Production of fracked gas in the NT is at least five to ten years away from paying any royalties, but taxpayers are already paying through the nose to subsidise an industry the government's own independent Inquiry found would produce 'less than 500 jobs over 25 years, minimal revenue, and be unlikely to be commercially viable.'
The budget crisis should spark a thorough re-examination of all funding decisions - starting with the decision to pursue high cost, low return gas fracking.
The NT Government has already committed substantial public funds to subsidise the fracking industry, including:
- Over $7 million spent on the two public inquiries highlighting the risks of fracking.
- $millions have been spent on studies and geological surveys for gas exploration.
- $millions have been spent in advertising and promotion of the fracking industry
- The untold cost to our highways and remote roads from thousands of heavy trucks causing damage to Territory infrastructure and impacting high-value tourist areas like Mataranka and Katherine.
- An expensive carbon offsets policy for pollution from fracking, estimated to cost upwards of $4 billion over 10 years.
- Millions more will be spent on the costly and complex regulatory and legislative overhaul needed to implement the Inquiry's 135 recommendations, taking up yet more of this government and its public service's time that could be better spent fixing the budget crisis.
The evidence is in. Fracking is a money-losing industry that pollutes land and water and makes people sick. Across the United States investors are bailing out of fracking operations after a decade of loss-making, with hundreds of companies filing for bankruptcy, taking local economies with them.
We can’t let the reckless gas loving Gunner Government make the same mistake here.
Chief Minister Gunner, we the undersigned call on you to rule out any more taxpayer subsidies to the fracking industry to protect the environment and economy of the Northern Territory.