Skip to main content

End fossil fuel subsidies and $1.9 billion to Middle Arm gas hub

While fossil-fuelled climate disasters raged on over summer, advocates for the controversial Darwin Harbour Middle Arm project were caught in a lie.

New documents reveal how the new hub would pump out petrochemicals like "plastics, paints, polymers and rubbers" and liquid gas for export — all using fracked Beetaloo gas that steamrolls the consent of Traditional Owners.1

The Albanese Government is greenwashing the project as "sustainable" but now we have proof that this is a fossil fuel subsidy.

Together, we can and must stop the public funding to the Middle Arm gas and petrochemicals hub — along with the billions in annual subsidies to coal, oil and gas polluters.
Middle Arm is a gas industry plan for a massive port and industrial hub on Darwin Harbour.

The ABC obtained the NT Government's original business case for Middle Arm through freedom of information requests. It details how the new hub would pump out petrochemicals using fracked Beetaloo gas that steamrolls the consent of Traditional Owners.1

Frackers and gas lobbyists celebrated when nearly $2 billion in public funding was announced in the October budget.2, 3

After GetUp members – together with Traditional Owners and local campaigners – snapped into action to challenge the subsidy, the Albanese Government greenwashed the project as "sustainable".4 And the NT government quietly scrubbed the word "petrochemicals" from the Middle Arm website.5

For years, Traditional Owners in the Beetaloo Basin continue to staunchly defend their land and water against frackers like Tamboran Resources – who publicly admit Middle Arm would be the destination for their polluting gas.6

Stopping Middle Arm's subsidy-lifeline would in turn pull the rug out from under Tamboran's disastrous plans, and bring us one step closer to protecting country from fracking once and for all.

Reputex analysis found that fracking the Beetaloo Basin could use up as much as 27% of Australia's total remaining carbon budget (i.e. Australia's fair share of limiting global heating to 1.5C).7 There is no way to frack the Territory and meet Labor's 43% emissions reduction target.

Want more information? Watch our Don't Frack the NT webinar!
Together, we can keep the heat on the federal government to use the $1.9 billion on projects that Aboriginal communities in the NT have been demanding for decades. For example:
- safer roads
- housing
- Aboriginal controlled services in communities
- renewable energy
- climate adaptation
For two years, GetUp members and our allies raised the alarm over billions in gas handouts from the Morrison Government. It was supposed to be the "gas-fired recovery" but it became a "gas-fired bin fire".8

Through a massive petition, newspaper ads, meetings with MPs and powerful media stories, in October we pushed the Albanese Government to scrap up to $1 billion worth of Morrison-era gas funding. This is a huge win, and it shows that when the community is mobilised, bad decisions can be reversed.
[1] Business case for Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct triggers climate concerns from critics, ABC News, 29 December 2022.
[2] Media Release: Booming oil and gas public contribution at risk from energy policy changes, APPEA, 25 October 2022.
[3] $2.5 billion infrastructure boost for the Northern Territory, The Hon Catherine King MP, 16 October 2022.
[4] See reference 3.
[5] NT government deletes references to 'petrochemicals' from Middle Arm website, rejects 'greenwashing' claims, ABC News, 26 November 2022.
[6] Answers to questions taken on notice from public hearing in Canberra, Tamboran Resources, 10 October 2022.
[7] Analysis of Beetaloo Gas Basin Emissions & Carbon Costs, RepuTex Energy, October 2021.
[8] 'Gas market trigger won't fix 'bin fire' left by Coalition, energy minister Chris Bowen says', The Guardian, 2 July 2022.


To the Hon. Anthony Albanese, MP, Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. Dr Jim Chalmers MP, Treasurer, Senator the Hon. Katy Gallagher, the Hon. Chris Bowen MP, Climate Change and Energy Minister, and the Hon. Catherine King MP, Minister for Infrastructure,

Ahead of the May budget we're calling on the government to:

1. Scrap the $1.9 billion fossil fuel subsidy for Middle Arm
2. Ensure no new public funds for coal, oil or gas
3. Review all recurring fossil fuel subsidies

In taking action, I agree to GetUp's Privacy Policy.