Anti-fracking fight goes on
ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners opposed to fracking say they have not given up the fight following yesterday’s green light, with some immediately scrambling to organise protests for today.
Lock the Gate’s Naomi Hogan described the announcement as “a slap in the face” for environmentalists “due to its devastating impacts on land, water and businesses”.
“Territorians everywhere will be holding the Government accountable, and will band together strongly to prevent gas companies riding roughshod over communities and the Territory’s water resources,” she said.
Meanwhile, Environment Centre NT chief executive Shar Molloy called the move a broken promise, saying the Government “cannot be trusted” to implement the 135 recommendations handed down by Justice Rachel Pepper.
“How do these 135 recommendations actually get maintained over time when you have shifts in government, shifts in political parties? Laws and policies can be changed and this is something that needs to be regulated forever,” she said.
“They’re not only not listening to Territorians but they’re not listening to well over 30 climate scientists that have urged the NT Government not to go ahead with this.”
But the thumbs-up found more favour with industry and tourism groups.
NT Cattlemen’s Association chief executive Paul Burke said pastoralists were “fairly supportive” and Darwin Harbour Cruises’ Rachel BeaumontSmith welcomed the move as good news for the economy.
“As long as the recommendations are being adhered to and the zones that should be protected are protected, we welcome an improvement in our local economy – and I believe there will be an improvement,” she said.
On the other hand, the Amateur Fishermen’s Association’s David Ciaravolo said he was seeking an urgent ministerial briefing about exactly which areas would be exempt.
“We don’t have faith in the Government to just decree what areas are of high ecological and tourism value, we expect stakeholder input in that but we have no word on exactly how that might go,” he said.
Northern Land Council chief executive Joe Morrison said the industry could be a “double-edged sword” and it would take some time to assess its impact on Aboriginal interests.
“From my point of view there’s no need to panic, even though some anti-hydraulic fracturing people would want that to be case, but we’ve got a lot to go through to understand what the impacts are but also what the opportunities are,” he said. “There needs to be a lot of things done by the NT Government and industry in partnership with the community to allow this to proceed in a sustainable manner.”
Anti-fracking protests have occurred frequently throughout the Territory in the past few years