Name withheld on request of author - 31 May 2014

Dear Dr. Hawke,

I wish to make the following  submission with regard to the concerns I have  to the practice of hydraulic fracturing that is potentially to be employed in mining practices throughout the Northern Territory in the near future.

My concerns include:

The history of high risk of failures and accidents associated with hydraulic fracturing (fracking) across the world demonstrates that it threatens the health of our rivers, lands, communities and environment.

The practice is so potentially dangerous it has been totally banned in France. What can we as citizens do to push for the here in Australia?  

I believe that the risks associated with fracking are too high and out-ways any benefit. ( for I do not see, other than big Multi national companies getting rich the. Leave our land, dead with the live sucked out of it.

The high level of water use by mining companies (which is not controlled by the NT Water Act)
Mining companies do not need to seek a licence to extract water for fracking.

Water is precious and should be treated like liquid gold. 

Industrialization and fragmentation of our pristine bushlands. Our biggest physical asset. They provide in both biodiversity and provide for the livelihoods of many Territorians from recreational fishing, to our tourism and general respect for the land. 

The risk of gases seeping out into our aquifers, waterways and bores. ( we have all seen the water taps able to be set alight) 

The lack of responsibility by mining companies to protect the health of the surrounding environment and communities into the future.

The lack of information about its potential cumulative environmental, social, health and cultural impacts.

The potentially devastating impact it could have on our fishing and other tourism industries

The potentially devastating impact it could have upon traditional Aboriginal sacred sites

The social impact of industrialisation turning our regional and remote areas into ‘gas factories’.

I have recently read, The Environmental Protection Authority has stated that there are too many wells to assess individually and that the NT Government does not have the resources to ensure compliance. Will companies be required to undertake environmental impact assessment of each well? How will we be able to ensure it will be free from corruption?  

 How can the community have confidence in the government to be able to make informed decisions based on the science and not just the hard sell from mining companies?

What will happen to the millions of litres of contaminated waste water?

Who actually benefits financially from fracking?

Can I please request an open, transparent process for information to be provided and distributed throughout communities.

In my opinion, Mining companies must obtain free, prior and informed consent from all landholders as per best practice management and Mining companies undertaking fracking must be required by law to respond to the criteria for environmental impact assessment as per any other significant development.

The real cost of fracking should be known and recovered from operators, including:

  • wear and tear on public infrastructure including roads and the increased risk of car/ truck accidents and near misses on the public roads. ( who pays for the damage to the roads?) 
  • water usage and pollution
  • costs for rehabilitation of wells and fields
  • reduction in the monetary value of land to landholders as a result of fracking
  • My thanks for your consideration of these concerns and suggestions. 

Many thanks