News


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


NT Fracking polling June 2020

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Santos gives up two NT gas licences as fracking insurance risks exposed

Santos gives up two NT gas licences as fracking insurance risks exposed

Explosive Revelations today that Australia's largest insurance company IAG will no longer cover farmers for public liability if they have coal seam gas (CSG) infrastructure on their property should ring alarm bells for NT politicians.

The news comes on the same day fracking company Santos announced it would relinquish two gas licences - which covered a combined area of land about one million hectares in size - in the Roper and central Arnhem Land regions, demonstrating the instability of the industry.

“Evidently even gas companies aren’t sure if they really want to get involved in the NT, so why is the Gunner Government rolling out the red carpet for this dangerous polluting industry and potentially putting landholders at risk?” said Protect Country Alliance spokesperson Graeme Sawyer.

The Protect Country Alliance previously attempted to highlight concerns over current land access laws and insurance risks to the NT government but was ignored.  A legal expert in land access matters, MaryLou Potts, also travelled to Darwin in an attempt to explain to politicians the concerns and the flaws in Territory legislation.

Rod Dunbar, owner of Nutwood Downs cattle station near Daly Waters said, “This latest development just shows how governments are not taking the threat of fracking seriously.

“Regulations in the Petroleum Act are being drawn up right now, but there are no checks and balances for pastoral properties or farms at all.

“Fracking companies are proposing that they can come onto your property despite what your wishes are. If you don’t want to sign an access agreement they refer you to a tribunal and the tribunal allows them on to your property on whatever terms they deem fit.

“It’s not an access agreement, it’s an order.”

Mr Sawyer said the laws in place in the NT left landowners and occupiers at risk of being legally responsible for damages that could occur as a result of risky hydraulic fracturing activities, despite the landowner having no control over a company’s actions.

He said this transfer of liability extended to pastoral lease holders, Native Title holders, local shire councils, and others.

“The seriousness of this issue is highlighted by the insurers telling QLD farmers they will not offer public liability cover to a property that has CSG infrastructure on it,” Mr Sawyer said.

“We fully expect a similar scenario to play out in the NT as insurance companies understand the risk posed by unconventional gas operations.”

“The NT government has inadequate plans to mitigate these risks or to provide landowners with protection.

“I call on the NT government to explain its plans for the implementation of recommendation 4.6 on Page 39 of the Pepper report, where the inquiry found this deficiency needs to be addressed in order to do a final risk assessment.

“The insurance companies are clear in their risk assessments, but the Gunner Government seems willing to risk the Territory’s agricultural sector in favour of propping up the fracking industry.”

For further comment contact

Graeme Sawyer

Protect Country Alliance NT

graeme@protectcountrynt.org.au