A large proportion (90%) of the NT is under active exploration for either petroleum or gas
Much of this is unconventional and shale gas and will require hydraulic fracking.
There are major unresolved concerns about the safety of fracking particularly related to contamination of ground water.
The Amadeus Basin is a priority area for fracking and is also the water supply of Alice Springs
It only takes one faulty well to pollute an aquifer
Fracking in this basin will therefore pose an unacceptable risk to the water supply of Alice Springs.
The water legislation in the NT is the weakest in Australia
The water legislation in the NT means that mining
companies will not need to seek permission to access water- which is
such precious commodity
Other concerns include environmental degradation, waste
disposal, large volumes of water required, chemicals used in fracking,
health concerns, fugitive emissions, and climate impacts.
There are also major concerns about the effect on the
landscape and effect on other uses for land (including agriculture,
fishing and tourism
There also serious potential impacts on sacred sites.
It is concerning that the EPA has stated that there are
too many wells to assess individually and that blanket approval will
be given without reviewing risks at individual sites.
It is concerning that funding to independent
environmental organizations such as ALEC, the NT Environment Centre and
the environmental defenders organization.
Will each potential exploration site be assessed individually?
What rights do land owners have in relation to potential exploration on their land?
Have any independent studies been conducted to assess
the impacts of fracking in the unique environment of the NT – both the
tropical monsoon regions and the arid zones?
How are the health, social and cultural impacts of fracking going to be assessed?
What will happen to the contaminated waste water?
How can the public be assured that government is making
decisions that are independent and informed by the best scientific
What subsidies or incentives are being provided to mining companies in this area?
How can the views of remote communities be canvassed by this inquiry?
How are the public going to be informed of the risks of fracking and the level of uncertainty around some of the risks?
How are the results of this inquiry going to be disseminated?
That the precautionary principle for ecologically
sustainable development be used as a central principle in assessing
fracking and in drafting legislation and regulations in regard to
That a full scientific inquiry is held into impacts
(including environmental, social, health and cultural impacts) of
fracking both overseas and in Australia before any exploration licenses
are granted and that the precautionary principle be acknowledged as a
central guiding principle in this inquiry.
That this inquiry review potential climate change effects of fracking.
That a moratorium on fracking is introduced immediately
until this inquiry has been conducted and the findings have been
extensively canvassed with the NT community.
That the government educate the public using the
findings of the inquiry and then have a open debate which includes
Aboriginal communities about the safety and desirability of fracking in
That each site for fracking or any other mining exploration be assessed individually rather than blanket approval given.
The onus for proof that fracking is safe should be on
the mining company rather than the land owner including responsibility
for collection of data.
Water use for fracking and other mining should be included in the Water Act.
Bodies such as the EPA are properly resourced to deal
with the volume of applications in the NT so that each site can be
Funding for NGO environmental organizations such as
ALEC, Environment Centre NT and the NT Environmental Defenders
Association be reinstated to ensure balance in debates about fracking
and mining in general and so that the general public has access to
information from community environmental organizations.
Mining companies must obtain free and informed consent
from land owners and traditional landowners before any exploration is