Phil Walcott – 26 May 2014

Dear Dr. Hawke,

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

My concerns include:

The history and high risk of failures and accidents associated with hydraulic fracturing (fracking) across the world demonstrates that it threatens the health of our rivers, aquifers and general environment (including air quality). The practice is so potentially dangerous it has been totally banned in France.
I believe that the risks associated with fracking are too high. The potential for serious long-term impacts are too great to be compensated for the short-term financial benefit to the Northern Territory.
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.
Industrialization and fragmentation of our pristine bushlands. Our biggest physical asset. They provide in both biodiversity and provide for the livelihoods of many Territorians.
The impact on the landscape since one shale gas field typically contains many wells connected by pipelines.
The risk of gases seeping out into our aquifers, waterways and bores.
Negative health aspects of the fracking process caused by the permanent contamination or our air & water supplies.
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’.

Given these concerns, I ask the Inquiry to respond to the following questions:

Further, I call on you to make recommendations for:

Additionally, I call on you to make recommendations to amend the legislation in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly in response to the following concerns:

1. We don’t know enough about the impact of fracking on our environment or human health. Therefore the law must:


2.  The current laws do not allow for community consultation. Therefore the law must:


3. Environmental impact assessment is not adequate. Therefore the law must:


4. Regulatory oversight is not effective. Therefore the law should be changed to:


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

My thanks for your consideration of these concerns and suggestions. I wish you well in your deliberations and trust that the concerns expressed above are considered and addressed accordingly.


Phil Walcott