Commenting on today’s announcement of amendments agreed between the Federal government and Australian Greens to the Safeguards Mechanism Bill, Traditional Owners from the Beetaloo Basin region have expressed their hope that this will help them to protect their country from the dangerous impacts of fracking.
Nurrdalinji Native Title Aboriginal Corporation represents members with native title interests across the Beetaloo Basin.
Traditional owner Johnny Wilson and Chair of Nurrdalinji, who lives in Lightning Ridge within 20 kms of Empire’s new fracking exploration wells said, “Our country is in the hands of these big gas companies and I feel very grateful that we may one day not have to fight to protect our land, sacred sites, culture and water.
“No one has seen the jobs and economic benefits which have long been promised by the fracking companies, and we do not believe they will ever come.
“We want to live peacefully on our country and keep it safe for our children and grandchildren. The future lies with power from the sun, not drilling into my grandparent’s country and damaging water and everything that relies on it.”
Djingili elder, native title holder and Deputy Chairman of Nurrdalinji, Samuel Janama Sandy, said, “We are happy to hear this news about new laws which may mean gas companies have to work harder to get their projects through, because fracking will hurt our country, songlines, dreaming and water.
“We need to protect the environment, the bird life and the animals and keep it safe for future generations and I hope we can continue to take our grandchildren and swim in the waterholes and drink the clean water.”
Fracking in the Beetaloo Basin
The NT Government estimated in the NT Pepper Inquiry Final Report (p 98) that over 6,000 wells could be drilled in the Beetaloo if the fracking industry progresses.
First Nations communities raised serious concerns with the Inquiry about the threat of fracking in the Beetaloo to country, cultural values and landscapes, and water sources, and the lack of free, prior and informed consent processes.
Nurrdalinji Aboriginal Corporation
The Nurrdalinji Native Title Aboriginal Corporation includes 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 region, with most of the NT covered by exploration permits.