Federal Government waste taxpayer funds on NT fracking

Australian taxpayers should be outraged the Morrison Government has announced it will yet again subsidise the polluting and expensive fracking industry using public funds with a “gas roads” package for the NT worth $217M.

The announcement, made today by Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Resources Minister Keith Pitt, as well as Labor Territory Environment Minister Eva Lawler, is the latest in a long list of subsidies being used to prop up the destructive fossil fuel industry by Territory and Federal governments.

No one is asking for this - it’s little more than a waste of Australian taxpayer money to meet the demands of politicians within the government who are ideologically wedded to fossil fuels,” said Protect Country Alliance spokesperson Dan Robins.

“It’s little surprise that this announcement was made by two National Party MPs, while Scott Morrison is on vacation.

“If the gas industry is so profitable why do they need millions in handouts from us taxpayers? 

“It’s as if all the environmental risks are pushed on the public while these private companies take all the profits and unwarranted government subsidies.

“The NT and Federal Governments have already wasted hundreds of millions of dollars trying to get the fracking industry going in the NT, but even the companies who are exploring here are yet to confirm whether there is a viable resource.

“Gas that would be produced in the Beetaloo would be extremely expensive, so wouldn’t stand a chance of being exploited without the government throwing taxpayer money at it.

“Clearly, the Federal and Territory Governments are doing all they can to prop up a polluting, destructive industry that Territorians neither want, nor need.

“This announcement shows complete disdain for the majority of Territory Traditional Owners, communities, and farmers who strongly oppose fracking in the Beetaloo Basin.

“Mr McCormack also clearly dodged questions today about how the Beetaloo’s projected carbon bomb could be offset - the government's own estimates show this could total 117 million tonnes per annum. This will have a devastating impact on the NT’s environment, which is already suffering due to climate change and will hasten the world towards the worst case global heating scenario.”


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Morrison's $50 million donation to frackers

The Morrison Government’s appalling decision to spend $50 million of Australian taxpayers’ cash propping up the polluting gas fracking industry in the Northern Territory will threaten communities and the environment, and will damage other existing, more sustainable industries. 

Protect Country Alliance spokesperson Graeme Sawyer said the decision by the Morrison Government was “an epic waste of precious public money”.

“What this announcement clearly shows is that fracking the Beetaloo Basin for gas is not economically viable without massive subsidies,” he said.

“Every Australian taxpayer should be utterly outraged by this decision - fracking is expensive, environmentally destructive, and has no future in a zero carbon world.

“The word is moving away from fossil fuels and renewable energy technology is now by far the cheapest, most efficient way to power homes and industry.”

Just yesterday, the European Commission proposed rules to restrict funding for LNG projects and instead funnel cash into low-carbon technologies to meet climate goals.

“Yet the dinosaurs in the Morrison Government remain ideologically in bed with the fracking industry and are choosing to waste public money propping it up,” Mr Sawyer said.

“Put money into any other industry in Australia and you’ll create more jobs. 

“We know from other jurisdictions that when the fracking industry comes to town, it leads to a net decrease in job opportunities because it muscles out other industries and does not create the same jobs as, for example, agriculture.”

When the fracking industry moved into Queensland, nine jobs were lost in the services sector for every 10 new CSG jobs, while 18 agricultural jobs were lost for every 10 people employed in the coal seam gas industry.

“Fracking also carries the serious and probable risk of contaminating and depleting underground water sources that are so vital in a dry country like ours,” Mr Sawyer said.

“To add insult to injury, the Federal Government is paying these companies to frack through our aquifers without waiting for the promised science studies into the groundwater to be completed.

“The Morrison Government can throw as much money as it wants at this destructive industry, but Traditional Owners, farmers, and the broader NT community remain opposed to fracking, and we will not let it threaten our land, water, and environment without a fight.” 

For interviews:

Call Graeme Sawyer (Protect Country Alliance Coordinator Darwin)

0411 881 378

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.”