It would appear that the growth in shale and tight gas activities including fracturing in the Northern Territory is a foregone conclusion as, in my opinion, is supported by the 2013 Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) Submission: Committee on the Northern Territory’s Energy Future – Inquiry into Key Challenges and Opportunities (http://www.nt.gov.au/lant/parliamentary-business/committees/future%20energy/Submissions%202013/Submission_No21_APPEA_2_December_2013.pdf).
So, in the event that hydraulic fracturing and all its forms and derivatives’ takes hold in the Northern Territory, then it should only do so under the strongest of legislation and policy supported by enforceable regulations, guidelines and processes to ensure that the perceived demand and hunger for energy is not actively catered for above the preservation of groundwater and biodiversity.
The legislative framework should be as equally informed by industry, science, economics, law, community and by the failings of other international Governments and regulators that have been rendered useless in the pursuit of taking the industry to task over the growing concerns of the effects (visible or otherwise) of all aspects of fracturing activities.
It beggars belief that the Northern Territory Government and the Federal Government would consider the expansion of hydraulic fracturing activities in the Northern Territory without first affording sufficient time and funds for the development and implementation of a solid and comprehensive statutory framework which the industry would be required to operate within.
A terms of reference should provide careful consideration of all aspects of the fracturing process including, but not limited to:
Role of the Federal Government It is disturbing that when searching the Internet for the hydraulic fracturing inquiry location to make submission that it is not easily found. What is of interest is that one of the first results is the link to the APPEA submission of 2013. I am happy that I was able to review this first at it confirmed my fears that decisions have most likely already been made and that the concerns of residents however, emotional or misinformed; really will have no bearing on the actions of Government. How very disappointing.