Media release: Risky wet season fracking an early sign on Roadmap to come

Origin Energy has just resumed fracking exploration in the Beetaloo Basin after it was shut down in March, despite above average rainfall predicted for the approaching wet season due to the return of the La Niña cycle and a shifting Indian Ocean Dipole. 

ALEC CEO Jimmy Cocking says wet-season fracking poses serious environmental risks to ground and surface water in the region, as reported in the Pepper Inquiry into fracking in the NT.

“During the wet season, heavy rainfall and the increased likelihood of flooding means the toxic waste water produced from fracking could spill into streams, rivers and groundwater, threatening both the health of people and the natural systems they depend on," Cocking said. 

"This is compounded by the Ministerial approval to allow Origin to carry out fracking activities with plastic lined evaporation ponds instead of the recommended closed tanks as referenced in the Pepper inquiry report."

“The decision to frack during the wet season shows complete disregard for NT communities and the Traditional Owners of the Beetaloo region, who continue to express their concerns about this environmentally risky industry.”

The Beetaloo Basin was recently flagged by the Morrison government for the development of one of five new gas projects. 

Mr Cocking condemns the Federal Government’s plans to make gas the centrepiece of its recovery strategy, saying it will drive unsafe fracking in the Territory while providing very little economic benefit to the community.  

“Removing environmental protections and fast-tracking approvals of damaging projects in the NT shows the Federal Government is doing the bidding of the fossil fuel lobby at the expense of a clean energy future for Territorians.” 

“Australians cannot afford to continue subsidising this dirty industry that pays little tax, pollutes our air and water and is the fastest growing contributor to global heating, while creating only a handful of short-term, specialised jobs.”

Mr Cocking said Australia's Technology Investment Roadmap release today guiding $18 billion of Commonwealth investments gives no clear guidance to the clean energy industry that is ready to invest in projects that will create jobs now if the policy setting was clear. 

“The Federal Government needs to show leadership and set a net-zero by 2050 target. This will give investors the certainty that they need to immediately create jobs, reduce power prices and tackle climate change all at once.”

“We have a choice. Australia can invest in the polluting technologies of the past or choose a renewable-led recovery that would create over a million jobs and future-proof our economy and our climate.”

Contact: Jimmy Cocking, ALEC CEO, director@alec.org.au 0423511931