Guest essay by Eric Worrall
The left wing Australian Northern Territory Labor government has shocked greens, breaking ranks with other left wing Australian state governments by lifting a ban on gas fracking.
Northern Territory lifts fracking ban, opening up 700,000 sq km to gas exploration
Staff and agencies
Tue 17 Apr 2018 10.24 AEST
First exploration fracking expected next year but national parks and conservation areas will be protected
The Northern Territory government has lifted a ban on hydraulic fracturing of onshore gas that will open up more than half of the territory’s land mass to the controversial practice.
The first exploration fracking by petroleum companies is expected to occur early next year after the implementation of a regulatory regime and new laws, which the government insists will be strict.
The issue has sharply divided territorians, many of whom believe fracking threatens water supplies, but the chief minister, Michael Gunner, said on Tuesday the industry would create jobs.
An independent report handed down by Justice Rachel Pepper last month found the risks associated with hydraulic fracturing of gas deposits could be managed and regulated.
Environmental groups and scientists have pressed the Labor government to keep the fracking moratorium it introduced, arguing it would adversely affect water, land and public health. The federal government has urged the NT government to allow the economic exploitation of its gas resources.
Naomi Hogan of Lock the Gate said the government’s decision was “shameful” and the result of “bullying” from the gas industry and federal government.
“This is a slap in the face for all of the Territorians who have stood up and opposed fracking to protect their livelihoods in tourism, agriculture, pastoralism and fishing,” she said.
What a shocker – socialists putting fiscal sanity and the interests of workers and poor people ahead of appeasing rich urban greens.