Do you love acronyms as much as we do? That is, not at all? Well - we're sorry to have to give you another one to learn, but this one is very important and can inform the way fracking is carried out in the NT.
What is a SREBA?
A SREBA is a strategic regional environmental and baseline assessment used to inform decisions about the fracking industry in a particular region.
The Scientific Inquiry Into Hydraulic Fracturing in the NT Final Report found that the shale gas industry poses significant risks to the NT because there isn't enough baseline environmental and social information to make good decisions. Without more information, it's impossible to identify the specific risks or impacts posed by production drilling in the Beetaloo basin. A SREBA was recommended by the Inquiry in order:
“to provide information necessary for appropriate decisions to be made about the development of any onshore shale gas industry in the NT, including assessment of water and biodiversity resources, to inform land-use planning, and the collection of baseline data to provide a reference point for ongoing monitoring”
Why is it important?
Baseline environmental information is necessary to predict the scale and intensity of industry impacts, to inform modelling during environmental assessment and identify sensitive regions. It involves the community, government and other stakeholders in planning for appropriate industry development. A robust, valid and representative SREBA is critical to making informed assessment decisions and to enable regulators to hold gas companies accountable.
The Final Report outlined a general framework for the SREBAs but the detail will be developed by the NTG through the Department of Chief Minister and Department of Environment and Natural Resources and draw on community input.
ALEC's take on it
We believe a SREBA should be -
Representative: The studies need to be conducted over a time period that can capture data showing changes year-to-year. Impacted communities must drive the research-design process, with parameters need to be locally determined. We recommend a minimum three-year time frame for the SREBAs to be completed.
Independent: We strongly oppose the involvement of GISERA in undertaking any further research as we are concerned about their independence from the gas industry. We recommend prioritising local expertise and knowledge from institutions such as Charles Darwin University in Alice Springs and Darwin.
Integrated: Research domains should be interlinked and integrated. The SREBA should identify the connections between research areas such as the social impact of a polluted bore or choosing the indicator species based on their cultural significance. The NTG are specifically looking for input on how to do this more effectively.
What can you do?
You can submit your feedback on Draft SREBA Framework to the NTG by 28th February.
NTG will be considering public input, particularly comments on the methodology, data management and implementation.
You can find the SREBA Framework consultation draft here.
While ALEC is against fracking in the NT, as it poses unacceptable risks to the climate, groundwater and country, we believe it is vital that we engage with the SREBA consultation process. We must ensure that SREBAs are properly resourced, representative and scientifically valid.
Please get in touch with us if you would like support writing a submission or if you have any ideas about how to improve the SREBA framework.
DUE DATE: 28th February 2020
SUBMIT HERE: [email protected]
CONTACT: Alex Read, ALEC Policy Officer - 0407 770 157, [email protected]