Community Update #16 - 31 July 2017
The independent Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing of Onshore Unconventional Reservoirs in the Northern Territory (the Inquiry) commenced two weeks of public hearings today.
Public hearings will be held in Darwin (31 July – 2 August), Alice Springs (3-4 August), Katherine (8-9 August) and Tennant Creek (10 August). A total of 57 individuals and organisations are confirmed to present to the Inquiry.
The program of the public hearings is available on the Inquiry’s website and will be livestreamed at www.frackinginquiry.nt.gov.au
Inquiry Chair, Justice Rachel Pepper, said the second round of public hearings provides another opportunity for information to be submitted for the Inquiry’s consideration.
“There is a broad range of groups and individuals registered for this round of public hearings from environmental groups, oil and gas industry representatives, tourism operators, economics and energy analysts, traditional owners and pastoralists,” Justice Pepper said.
“The public hearings are a critical aspect of evidence gathering for the Inquiry and an important opportunity for the community to put its views forward.”
Justice Pepper said the Inquiry had also met with a range of stakeholders and organisations over the past month in the NT and Queensland as part of its evidence gathering program.
“The Inquiry has met with several pastoralists in the Beetaloo Sub-basin to hear of their experiences with oil and gas companies and their concerns regarding land access, the spreading of weeds and long term well integrity,” Justice Pepper said.
“The Inquiry also travelled to Queensland and met with the Queensland Gasfields Commission, an independent statutory body which facilitates interaction between landholders, regional communities and the onshore gas industry in Queensland.
“Additionally, the Inquiry met with AgForce, CSIRO’s Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA), the University of Queensland’s Centre for Coal Seam Gas (CCSG), the Department of Natural Resources and Mines, the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and the Office of Groundwater Impact Assessment (OGIA).
“While much of the resource activity in Queensland is focussed on coal seam gas, there are nevertheless similarities with onshore shale reservoirs and valuable information and learnings can be obtained from Queensland’s experiences in land access and regulatory reform, amongst other matters.”
The Inquiry travelled to the Darling Downs and South West region of Queensland to hear from a range of stakeholders, including landholders that have been directly affected by coal seam gas exploration and extraction.
“The Inquiry met with local landowners, local government and businesses involved with or impacted by coal seam gas development in the Dalby, Roma, Chinchilla and Miles region.
“The Inquiry heard a range of views and experiences including environmental and health concerns, unconscionable land access practices by the gas industry and the economic benefits to individual landholders and respective towns and regional councils.
“The Inquiry also visited Santos’ coal seam gas operation around Roma and visited Miles State High School and Trade Centre, where a partnership with Origin is facilitating education to employment pathways.”
In addition to the public hearings the Inquiry welcomes comments on the Interim Report and submissions to the Inquiry at any time.
The Inquiry’s draft Final Report will be released towards the end of the year, and the Final Report completed by the end of the year.
For more information and to view the Inquiry’s Interim Report visit: www.frackinginquiry.nt.gov.au.