Traditional Owners condemn NT Govt approval of Tamboran’s fracking plans

June 07, 2024 7:08 AM

Call on Plibersek to scrutinise Tamboran’s water impacts using ‘water trigger’

WHAT: Announcement by the NT Government that it has granted approval to Tamboran Resources for 15 new fracking wells and associated infrastructure in the Beetaloo Basin (NT News exclusive). Approval made on 23 May 2024 here.

: Nurrdalinji Aboriginal Corporation represents native title holders from the Beetaloo Basin region. It made a submission opposing Tamboran’s Environmental Management Plan, noting concerns about inadequate consultation and risks to country and water. 

Nurrdalinji has also written to the federal Minister for the Environment, Tanya Plibersek, asking her to take action to see the Independent Expert Scientific Committee scrutinise Tamboran’s water plans because of their likely significant impact on water resources, using the expanded water trigger provisions which passed Federal Parliament in December 2023.  Letter is here, including details of recent pollution events by Tamboran.

Yanyuwa and Garawa woman and Director of Nurrdalinji Aboriginal Corporation, Joni Wilson, who lives with her young family between Borroloola and a tiny outstation at Lightning Ridge, in the heart of the Beetaloo Basin, said, “I am a jungayi for my country which will be fracked. I carry the responsibility to protect and care for it.

“We just lived through serious floods and a cyclone at Borroloola. Climate change is making the storms worse. The government should not say okay to Tamboran building more fracking wells on a floodplain.

“Tamboran has already been caught out for polluting water. This week the other big gas company Empire was found to have impacted our land. What happens when there are thousands of wells? Our sacred waterways, the plants, the animals we hunt, our children will be poisoned”.

Chair of Nurrdalinji, Djingili Elder Samuel Sandy said, “Minister Plibersek should pull the water trigger so water experts can look closely at the  risks to water from Tamboran’s drilling.

“Water is the source of all life as we know it. Our rivers, lakes and underground waterways are everything to us. We have one earth and the underground aquifer is like a bloodline that runs through it. If the water is contaminated, where are we all going to live?

“This fracking is all about money and money will destroy the country within the Beetaloo Basin. We want to keep our culture and country strong. This has been a long, long battle and we will continue to fight to stop it.”

Photos: Nurrdalinji Directors and members inspecting Tamboran’s Maverick 1 Well Pad site where pollution occurred here. Nurrdalinji Chair Samuel Janama Sandy here and Director Joni Wilson here..Djingili elder and Nurrdalinji Director Elaine Sandy, with her great niece, by Newcastle Creek, June 2023 here.


The Nurrdalinji Native Title Aboriginal Corporation includes native title holders and Traditional Owners from the Barkly and Roper region, including native title holders from the Amungee Mungee, Beetaloo, Hayfield, Kalala, Newcastle Waters - Murranji, Nutwood Downs, Shenandoah, Tandyidgee, Tanumbirini, Daly Waters Township, Ucharonidge native title determinations.

The Beetaloo sub-basin is located around 500 kilometres south-east of Darwin. It embraces Aboriginal land, pastoral leases (which co-exist with Native Title rights and interests), horticultural enterprises, cattle stations and remote Aboriginal communities. A number of companies are currently undertaking fracked gas drilling in the Beetaloo, with a view to expanding their projects across the region.