Mar 23rd 2022

Traditional Owners unite against Beetaloo fracking at Senate inquiry

Traditional Owners and remote communities across the Northern Territory have stood united to tell politicians they do not consent to fracking on their land.

The Senate inquiry into fracking in the Beetaloo Basin heard evidence directly from Traditional Owners in Darwin today. Traditional Owners and remote communities across the Northern Territory have stood united to tell politicians they do not consent to fracking on their land.

Traditional Owners have relentlessly opposed opening the Beetaloo to fracking, which threatens cultural heritage, sacred sites and water supplies – and would release millions of tonnes of climate-wrecking carbon into the atmosphere. 

GetUp’s First Nations Justice Campaign Director and Election Co-Director Larissa Baldwin said: 

“Traditional Owners have the right to say no to fracking that would see fossil fuel giants steamroll their land and devastate their communities. 

“Traditional Owners have now told the Morrison Government face-to-face that they do not consent to climate-destroying fracking in the Beetaloo. Governments have a responsibility to respond to their call. 

“First Nations communities have been on the frontline of crisis after crisis, from overcrowded housing to overheating, flooded roads and food shortages. If the Morrison Government really cared, they’d be supporting these communities – not writing cheques to gas corporations to destroy them. 

“With an election looming, the Morrison Government is on notice – if you back Beetaloo, you’re turning your back on First Nations communities and the climate.” 

Gudanji man and Lightning Ridge Traditional Owner Johnny Wilson Yanyuwa said: 

“We’ve had no consultation whatsoever with the people coming to frack Country. All they’re there for is what is underground. We, the people of the Beetaloo Basin, want full responsibility and full contact with mining giants. We do not want fracking full stop. 

“We will tell the world – we do not want fracking and we will stand strong by it. To protect our water, our Country, and our future generations.” 

Alawa Traditional Owner Naomi Wilfred said: 

“Fracking, to me, that word is just so dangerous. Now our future is worried about that. Fracking will damage our land, our bush medicine, our bush tucker, our water, songlines, and sacred sites. We grow our food and medicine from that ground. The animals we hunt eat on that ground.

"Where is the respect? We have people buried in these grounds. You frack one spot, you impact other tribal lands too."

Yanyuwa man Nicholas Fitzpatrick said: 

“Giving public money to frackers is not right. Our communities rely on the land and water and when fracking poisons our land and water, it poisons us. 

“We’ve lost enough as Indigenous people. So much has been taken already. We need the government to spend this money on our health systems, education, roads and tourism.

“We need laws to protect our water, but all we’ve seen is mining. We need to do more to support the Territory, and fracking won’t do that."

Mudburra and Jingili man Uncle Raymond Dimakarri Dixon said:

“Fracking is taking place. We are concerned about water and our sacred sites, our families, our children, the environment, our culture, identity, and connection to Country. 

“Governments should use the money to give to Indigenous people who are suffering, but they’re giving it to fracking to destroy our land. Traditional Owners don’t want fracking, simple as that. Ban fracking. We want water to be safe for our environment and for our people."

Nanna Veronica Lynch Kngwarraye said:

“The money for fracking should go to the communities themselves to help build us up, not to big fracking giants. Fracking will destroy our Country and communities that already need the support.” 

Jedda Lynch Arrernte said: 

“We don’t want this money going into fracking. We need help for our communities. We need funding for housing, roads, education, and health. For our water, we don’t have water. We need resources so that we can be on Country. But we can’t be on Country because that’s where the problems are, and fracking makes that worse.”