Community Update #23 - 16 October 2017

The Chair of the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing in the Northern Territory (Inquiry), the Hon Justice Rachel Pepper, refutes claims made in today’s ABC Radio National coverage to the effect that the Inquiry supported calls for an investigation into former Chief Minister Adam Giles’ subsequent employment by Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd (Hancock).

ABC Radio National’s coverage, both online in print and on radio, incorrectly claimed that Justice Pepper supported suggestions made by the public at a community forum held by the Inquiry at Jilkminggan on 22 August 2017, that the former Chief Minister’s employment by Hancock be investigated by some form of anti-corruption body.

The community forum at Jilkminggan was one of 13 regional forums hosted by the Inquiry as part of evidence gathering which followed the release of the Interim Report.

Some members of the public have expressed the view that there is a perceived conflict of interest arising as a consequence of the employment of Mr Giles by Hancock, the holder of EP 154, an exploration permit which was granted by the Minister for Resources, while Mr Giles was the then Chief Minister.

“I have never supported or endorsed any commentary associated with any perceived conflict of interest consequent upon the employment of the former Chief Minister Adam Giles by Hancock Prospecting, or the granting of EP 154 to Hancock," Justice Pepper said.

“Coverage from ABC Radio National today suggesting that have I supported an anti-corruption investigation into Mr Giles’ conduct in this context is misleading and disappointing.

“During the forum some attendees raised concerns about a perceived conflict of interest between the granting of EP 154 to Hancock while Mr Giles was Chief Minister, and Mr Giles’ subsequent employment by Hancock, and that the matter should be investigated further. At no point in time did I state that the Inquiry would refer Mr Giles to any anti-corruption body and at no point in time did I state that the Inquiry would consider making a recommendation to the NT Government to this effect.

“Not only does the Inquiry not have the power to make such a referral under the Inquiries Act (NT), such action would be beyond the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference.

“The Inquiry has, however, received written submissions expressing a concern about this matter. Links to these submissions are available on the Inquiry’s website."

The submissions may be found at:

For more information go to or contact the Hydraulic Fracturing Taskforce:

Phone: (+61) 08 8999 6573