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Red carpet rolled out for gas, waste of taxpayer funds

The Territory and Federal Governments are rolling out the red carpet for investors to grow economic activity at all costs, with a gas-fired recovery the crown jewel. More than ever, diligence is required to stand up for water, biodiversity, country, climate and the people of the arid lands - ensuring transparency, accountability and that development is in the public interest. 

Responding to the gas-led recovery is a major focus for ALEC as government and industry attempt to:

  • fast-track fracking in the Beetaloo Sub-Basin; 
  • expand oil and gas production in the Amadeus Basin south of Alice Springs; and
  • Build or expand up to three new pipelines in the NT (see below for details)

Australians don’t back this risky waste of public money.

Far from helping Australia to recover from the COVID recession, natural gas will inevitably decline as an energy source in Australia and fail to lower prices or stimulate manufacturing jobs, a Grattan Institute report showed in November 2020 [1]. 

In December 2020, the Morrison Government announced a $50 million to speed up gas exploration in the Northern Territory’s Beetaloo sub-basin. The Government is wasting millions in public money propping an economically viable, polluting industry.

Just this week, newly appointed Origin Energy director Mick McCormack ridiculed the Government’s cheap gas target on the east coast as unobtainable. Mick McCormack called for bipartisan support for net zero emissions by 2050 - essential target for Australia to decarbonise the economy. 

Farmers and Traditional Owners do not want fracking

The government is trying to force through controversial new fracking projects against the wishes of Traditional Owners, farmers and local communities who have made it clear they do not want fracking, with its significant risks to agricultural land and water. Polling commissioned by the Protect Country Alliance found that 86% of Territorians do not support fracking.

Expanding fracking will not create the jobs Territorians need

The gas industry is one of the least labour intensive industries in Australia. COVID-19 recovery spending should focus on jobs-rich industries, but research shows gas is among the very worst options for creating jobs.

Beyond Zero Emissions’ Million Jobs Plan shows how in just five years, renewables and low emissions projects can deliver 1.8 million new jobs in the regions and communities where these are needed most.

Gas is a fossil fuel which will make climate change worse

2020 was the fourth warmest year on record for Australia, continuing a run of record warm years over the past decade, according to provisional data released by the Bureau of Meteorology. Across the country, temperatures in 2020 were 1.15C higher than average. 

The industry rhetoric that gas can help us "transition" to a low-carbon future is unsubstantiated and misleading. The main component of gas, methane, is a greenhouse gas nearly 100 times more potent than carbon dioxide in the short term. Along the entire gas supply chain large quantities of methane are emitted. Entrenching our dependence on gas by building new gas fracking projects and pipelines will worsen the impacts of climate change. 

Renewables are the way forward 

The Federal and NT Governments can capture an incredible opportunity to turn the NT's world-class solar resources into jobs, drive economic growth and secure affordable energy for all communities in the Territory. 

New wind and solar energy production is the cheapest form of energy generation. Clean energy backed by batteries will lower power prices, tackle climate change and rising temperatures and create the long term jobs that we need.  Investing in clean energy must be a top priority for the government.


The three pipeline projects planned for construction are:

  • Amadeus to Moomba Gas Pipeline, connecting the gas basins around Alice Springs more easily to South Australia and the east-coast gas network; 
  • an expansion of the Northern Gas Pipeline, by connecting the pipeline to the Beetaloo and expanding it on to the Wallumbilla Gas Hub in Queensland, increasing the pipeline capacity from 90TJ per day to 1000TJ per day; and
  • pipeline from the Beetaloo to Darwin for export

State of the Gas Industry in the Northern Territory

ALEC is currently compiling a report on the State of the Gas Industry in the Northern Territory. The report analyses the geography of the gas industry across the NT, focusing on key industry and government stakeholders, infrastructures and processes such as the SREBA (Strategic Regional Environmental and Baseline Assessment) and will be shared in due course.

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