Community Update #26 - 12 December 2017

The Independent Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing of Onshore Unconventional Reservoirs in the Northern Territory (Inquiry) released its draft Final Report today.

Due to its size, the draft Final Report comprises three separate documents: the draft Final Report (Book 1); the appendices to the Report (Book 2); and an Executive Summary (Book 3, over 50 pages).

The Inquiry Chair, Justice Rachel Pepper, said that the draft Final Report is the Inquiry’s most significant publication to date.

“The work of the Inquiry is to identify and assess the environmental, social, cultural and economic risks associated with hydraulic fracturing for any onshore shale gas in the Northern Territory, and to make recommendations to mitigate those risks, where possible. The Report details the work and the findings of the Inquiry to date. It makes 120 recommendations,” Justice Pepper said.

“The recommendations have been developed to mitigate risks identified during the course of the Inquiry relating to water, land, air, public health, Aboriginal people and their culture, and the unique social and economic conditions of the Territory.

“It is not the role of the Inquiry to make a recommendation whether or not the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the Northern Territory should be lifted, that is a matter for Government.

“What this Report does is provide recommendations to mitigate to acceptable levels the identified risks associated with any onshore shale gas development in the NT if the moratorium is lifted. These risks have been analysed having regard to the current available scientific evidence, which includes the evidence received during the consultation process. Where insufficient data exists to analyse those risks or to recommend appropriate mitigation measures, the Panel has had no hesitation in stating this and in recommending that this information be obtained.

“The overall conclusion of the Report is that risk is inherent in all development and that an onshore shale gas industry is no exception. However, if the recommendations made in this draft Report are adopted and implemented in full, those risks may be mitigated or reduced - and in many cases eliminated altogether - to acceptable levels having regard to the totality of the evidence.

“Since the Inquiry commenced, over 500 submissions have been received and considered by the Panel, 105 public hearings have been conducted, and the Inquiry has held 29 community forums across the Territory.

“The Panel now wants to hear from the community, Government, industry, environmental groups, and other relevant stakeholders about the content of the draft Final Report. This will be the last opportunity Territorians have to express their views to Inquiry.”

Registrations opened today for the final round of public hearings which will take place between 5-12 February 2018.




Monday, 5 February 2018


Darwin Convention Centre

Tuesday, 6 February 2018


Darwin Convention Centre

Wednesday, 7 February 2018


Godinymayin Yijard Rivers Arts and Culture Centre

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Alice Springs

Alice Springs Convention Centre

Monday, 12 February 2018

Tennant Creek

Civic Hall

Participants will have the option of nominating for 15, 30 or 60 minute time slots to provide feedback to the Panel on the findings and recommendations contained in the draft Final Report. For more information and to register, visit the Inquiry’s website. Registration is open until midnight, 5 January 2018.

Community forums will also be held in urban, regional and remote communities.  These forums will take place between 29 January and 16 February 2018. Dates and venues for the forums will be detailed on the Inquiry’s website in the near future.