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Angus Taylor visits frack site

NT Traditional Owners outraged after Angus Taylor visits frack site they oppose

Traditional Owners for the Beetaloo Basin area where Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor is visiting to inspect a gas site today say they strongly oppose fracking on their land and fear it will destroy a sacred site.

Mr Taylor is this morning visiting Empire Energy’s test drilling program at its Carpentaria-1 site, about 85km from Borrooloola, as part of the Morrison Government’s decision to waste taxpayer funds propping up the dirty and dying fracking industry.

The company company currently has plans to frack the site during next year's dry season.

Peggy Mawson is a Traditional Owner for the area where Empire Energy has drilled and plans to frack. 

She said, "We call that site where the company is drilling Paradise Pool or Karranjini. It is a mermaid dreaming. 

"I got a shock when I drove past the site recently and saw all the trucks lined up carrying chemicals and drilling equipment waiting to destroy our country. 

"I'm the Mihirringi for that dreaming, the boss lady for that site. Nobody from the government or the company came and asked me for permission to do the fracking there. 

"We want the minister and the whole country to know that the Traditional Owners and the community here do not agree for fracking to go ahead in the McArthur Basin. We all share the water here and we are so worried about what will happen if fracking poisons our water and kills our dreaming."

Fellow Traditional Owner Robert O'Keefe said, “I’m a senior Traditional Owner for that area Paradise Pool. 

“We told them that fracking mob when they came to the community that we don’t want fracking in that Balbarini area. 

“It would destroy our land and water. There’s a lot of sacred sites in that area and a lot of dreaming story. 

“They did a trick on us when they had a meeting, saying we signed for fracking when we just signed to say we were at the meeting not to agree to fracking. 

“They don’t have permission from us.

“We want them to stop. It’s really important for us that they don’t go there.”

ENDS

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Manufacturers could have accessed near free gas in the Northern Territory between 2009 and 2019. Yet gas-related manufacturing declined, despite millions spent in attempts to woo industry. Attempts to develop such industries now are likely to be futile given the high cost of onshore gas and prices linked to international and national markets. Stimulus policy should be directed to more viable, sustainable and labour-intensive industries.

Briefing note
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New polling shows 86% of Territorians opposed to fracking

New polling shows overwhelming majority of Territorians remain opposed to fracking

New polling has revealed more than eight in ten Territorians remain opposed to fracking, with a backlash against political support for the controversial industry likely to influence the outcome of the upcoming election.

The survey, conducted Territory-wide by Mediareach, found a whopping 86 per cent of the 1264 residents questioned opposed fracking, with most poll respondents stating  they were “strongly opposed”. 

Just seven per cent of respondents said they strongly supported the fracking industry.

The results also reveal a high level of awareness over the threat fracking poses to water, with 67% of people saying the industry is a threat to water security, in-particular ground water.

Interestingly, the poll also revealed relatively low awareness of public spending on fracking (28 per cent aware), with 69 per cent saying they opposed government spending taxpayer funds subsidising the fracking industry.

Thirty-five per cent of people believed it was better to spend government money on renewables, while 23 per cent favoured manufacturing support, and 18 per cent supported public funds going towards health and education.

Only 6 per cent would choose to spend taxpayer dollars on fracking.

As well, the survey revealed huge support for renewable energy, with 62 per cent of people questioned saying they would be more likely to vote for a political candidate that supported investing in a renewable energy economy. 

Protect Country Alliance spokesperson Graeme Sawyer said the survey results proved the Gunner Government’s pro-fracking spin hadn’t passed the pub test with NT voters, and it was time for a ban on fracking to be put in place.

“The people of the NT are much more aware of the risks associated with fracking than their politicians it seems,” he said.

“Politicians who support fracking obviously have not looked at the evidence but only listened to the gas industry and its vested interests.

“The Pepper Inquiry showed that the majority of NT residents did not support the fracking industry, and this latest polling has revealed that strong opposition to fracking remains very high.

“What’s also clear is that NT voters want political candidates who strongly support the renewable energy economy, not dirty old fossil fuels like fracked gas.

“Territory voters are also clearly opposed to their taxpayer dollars being spent on fracking and gas pipelines, while they believe the protection of our precious waterways should be a priority.

“Any candidates wanting to seriously contest the upcoming Territory election election must heed these results and immediately put in place policies that prevent polluting and expensive fracking from being rolled out across the Territory.” 

The polling was conducted as an interactive voice response poll with phone numbers selected at random.

The survey was conducted on 17 June, and divided residents into being from Alice Springs, Darwin, Northern Suburbs, Palmerston, Rest of Territory, and Darwin Rural Area.

For more comment email: Graeme@protectcountrynt.org.au