Canberra Times: Future gas plan 'deaf' to traditional owners' concern

June 06, 2024 11:53 AM

The future gas strategy has been criticised for misrepresenting the views of traditional owners, with calls for an apology from the federal government.

Greens senator Dorinda Cox has accused the government of being "deaf" to the concerns of First Nations communities about Australia producing more gas, including fracking the Narrabri region in NSW.

"All of these groups are opposed to gas expansion," the Yamatji-Noongar woman told the senate economics committee during a budget estimates hearing on Thursday.

"You'll continue to misquote them ... you sit here and say you respect the First Nations people, when you don't."

Samuel Sandy, chair of Nurrdalinji Aboriginal Corporation, had told The Guardian the use of parts of its submission in the published gas strategy was "wrong and upsetting" as the organisation supported more solar energy, not fracking for gas.

"We say over and over again that it's solar, not gas we need to power remote communities which now use expensive and dirty diesel," he said.

Industry department secretary Meghan Quinn said the submission was quoted in the context of energy security, because remote communities were often powered by standalone diesel grids.

The unreliability of these microgrids had adverse community effects, which disproportionately affected First Nations communities, according to the strategy.

The Nurrdalinji submission had said the answer for energy security problems in communities was "solar energy which is free, plentiful and does not cause further damage to the climate".

"This is where we want governments to concentrate," the corporation said.

Independent senator David Pocock was concerned that detailed greenhouse gas emissions modelling was not published with the strategy, nor did it model emissions from gas out to 2050 and beyond - the period of time covered by the document

Senator Pocock dismissed the future gas plan as a "rebranded gas-led recovery strategy" that was a hangover from the previous coalition government that failed to consider the climate impact of extracting more gas.

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By Marion Rae June 6 2024 - 11:20am