Community Update #8 - 27 March 2017

 The independent Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing in the Northern Territory will this week conclude its first stage of community consultation, which has seen more than 1000 people participate in formal hearings and community information and engagement sessions across the Territory. 

In addition to open community meetings, the Inquiry heard from 37 organisations and individuals at formal hearings earlier this month in Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Katherine and Darwin. The hearings were streamed live on the Inquiry’s website and viewed by more than 1000 people from within Australia and around the world, including people in Canada, US, Ireland, UK, Hungary, Spain and Switzerland. All of the video recordings are now available to watch on the Inquiry’s website 

Last week, as part of its initial regional and remote community consultation, the Inquiry visited Gapuwiyak, Nhulunbuy, Ngukurr, Borroloola, Daly Waters, Mataranka and Timber Creek. 

Inquiry Chair Justice Rachel Pepper said a diversity of views was presented at the community consultations. 

“We had over 340 people attend the meetings last week, including many Aboriginal people. We had interpreters on hand at each community as well as picture boards and audio translations of the Inquiry’s Background and Issues Paper, as well as a plain English version of that document. 

“There was a range of views presented and new issues came up that we had not considered. 

“Water was certainly the dominant theme. People are concerned about protecting their land for future generations,” Justice Pepper said. 

Today the Inquiry will visit Wadeye, and Hermannsburg on Wednesday. 

As communicated on 20 March 2017, the Inquiry’s meeting in Maningrida scheduled for that day was temporarily postponed due to bad weather.

The Inquiry has also temporarily postponed the community meeting in Yuendumu scheduled for tomorrow, 25 March 2017, due to circumstances in the community out of the Inquiry’s control. 

Justice Pepper said the Inquiry will arrange an appropriate time to re-schedule the meetings with both these communities.

“It is unfortunate that we were not able to visit Maningrida and Yuendumu but of course we will ensure that we visit them at an appropriate time,” Justice Pepper said. 

Justice Pepper said the opportunity to provide feedback on the Inquiry’s Background and Issues Paper is open until 30 April 2017. 

“I encourage anyone who was not able to attend a community session this month to go to our website and fill out the Have Your Say feedback form, or write to the Inquiry by email or post. 

“This is only the first stage of consultation. The next round of hearings and community meetings will be conducted mid year, following the release of the Inquiry’s Interim Report,” Justice Pepper said. 

For more information please visit call +61 08 8999 6573.