There have been serious questions raised about consent from Traditional Owners, the Independent Fracking Inquiry found just last year that “overwhelmingly Aboriginal communities were opposed to fracking” on their lands.
Many communities in the NT have already declared themselves off limits and this announcement not remove the risk of surface level contamination that comes with fracking gas fields.
First Nations Justice Lead Campaigner Larissa Baldwin said fracking threatens to poison the Northern Territory’s water supply:
“The Northern Territory government has just backhandedly declared remote communities as a sacrifice zone for the fracking industry.
“Community consent and consultation has been trashed and Aboriginal land and water has been handed to the gas lobby.
“Even though they’ve declared Katherine as off limits, there is no way they can guarantee protection of its water supply which is shared with places that are up for fracking.
“The government’s promises are a farce. They were never going to frack Uluru-Kata Tjuta, and they were never going to frack Kakadu. But what about genuine consultation with communities in the firing line?
“The question for the government now is - will you listen to Aboriginal people whose remote communities are in the path of fracking companies, are opposed to it and give them a no go zone too?
Gadrian Hoosan, Garawa and Yanyuwa man lives in Borroloola, the first Aboriginal community in the country to declare itself frack free:
“The NT government thinks they can put up an invisible barrier around some remote communities and then the contaminated water will know where it can’t go.
“These no-go-zones offer no protection. They won’t stop spills from thousands of trucks carrying the chemicals around our communities, won’t stop animals getting into the open wastewater ponds and won’t stop wet season carrying contamination from one place to another.”
“They say they want to do more consultation, but we’ve been saying no for years to the inquiry, to Land Councils and to government. We haven’t changed our minds.
“Aboriginal communities across the territory are working together and fighting hard to stop this, we are connected and our water is connected, we know our power is in standing united.”