Oct 20th 2020

Origin Energy AGM - native title holders won’t be silenced on fracking

At today’s Origin Energy annual general meeting Native Title Holders will tell shareholders and potential investors they refuse consent for fracking in the NT.

But Origin Energy will likely use the restricted online AGM format to silence their voices, after Traditional Owners turned out in force and dominated last year’s AGM. 

The lure of publicly funded bailouts has sent Origin into overdrive because they know their gas pipeline is not economically viable and cannot survive on its own merits.

Origin should learn from the fallout of the Juukan Gorge disaster - mining companies can no longer trample on the rights of remote communities without the world watching on. 

Aunty Naomi Wilfred is a Djungai woman and a Native Title Holder of Alawa land, including Nutwood Downs in the northern part of Origin Energy’s EP98 permit in the Beetaloo Basin. Aunty Naomi Wilfred said:

“If we would’ve been there in front of the Origin board today, in person, people would’ve been really angry, cross and upset.  We would’ve said no to fracking. 

“Last year delegates went to Sydney and they all said no, they didn’t want fracking in their native title area. Why are you not listening to the rightful Traditional Owners?”

“ In Minyerri, Alawa people care a lot about our land because of our songlines, our sites and our future. Our land is so important to us, especially water. Everyone is sharing water - us, the land itself and the animals. 

“I want to ask the Origin board why they reported to shareholders last year that they were not fracking on Alawa country at Nutwood Downs station, when they are?”

“Origin has not tried to seek consent for fracking from the traditional owners, and we will never give it,” said Aunty Naomi Wilfred.

GetUp’s First Nations Justice spokesperson Larissa Baldwin is in the NT today standing together with Native Title Holders.  Larissa Baldwin said:

“Native Title Holders are troubled by the damage exploration has already done to precious country and water, and feel ignored by Origin. 

“Origin hasn’t consulted with the majority of Native Title Holders about its plans to resume fracking during the wet season.

“A key recommendation Traditional Owners fought for during the Inquiry was to have wastewater in enclosed tanks. Origin promised it wouldn't water down regulations, but we know there is currently contaminated wastewater in open ponds that could spill as we enter what is predicted to be one of the longest, biggest wet seasons in years.

“Native Title Holders want to protect their country and water from fracking, so they can pass down their living cultural heritage, with deep ties to the waterways of the Beetaloo Basin passed down for millenia, to future generations.

“Origin should look closely at the fallout for Rio Tinto after it ignored the wishes of Traditional Owners at Juukan Gorge, and immediately cease exploration,” said Larissa Baldwin. 

Larissa Baldwin is a Widjabul woman who leads GetUp's First Nations work.