Op­po­nents an­gered

Anti-frack­ing fight goes on

NT News - - NEWS - JA­SON WALLS

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.”

Pic­ture: MICHAEL FRANCHI

Anti-frack­ing protests have oc­curred fre­quently through­out the Ter­ri­tory in the past few years

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