Dear Dr Hawke,
I am a member of the Alice Springs community and am concerned about the impacts of hydraulic fracturing in the Northern Territory.
I am concerned that the Northern Territory Government's focus on growing the economy and reducing debt will cloud their decision making with regards to whether hydraulic fracking should be undertaken in the Northern Territory. I believe there should be an independent scientific study which properly assesses all impacts (including environmental and health) caused by fracking both interstate and overseas prior to the commencement of fracking in the Northern Territory. I would argue that this is warranted given the risks identified in the report by the National Toxics Network (http://ntn.org.au/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/NTN-CSG-Report-Sep-2011.pdf).
I am also concerned about the potential in the Northern Territory for fracking to commence on Aboriginal land without proper consultation and fully informed consent from Traditional Owners. I would argue that information about fracking, including its environmental impact, and free legal advice must be provided to Traditional Owners. Such information should be available in Aboriginal languages.
I would also urge the NT Government to legislatively protect against fracking in areas where there are Aboriginal sacred sites, the importance of preserving such sites profoundly outweighs the short term economic gains that may come from fracking.
I appreciate the opportunity to put forward my concerns.