'Sneaky' Christmas present from Environment Minister


Sir – We condemn the sneaky – but not surprising – decision by NT Environment Minister Eva Lawler (pictured) to sign off on Origin Energy’s Beetaloo Basin fracking plans just two days before Christmas.
The decision came shortly before it was revealed the NT increased its LNG output by 153% in 2019 to more than 10.5 million tonnes, further proving the Territory has no need to undertake dirty and polluting fracking to find more gas.
The timing of the decision was typical of the NT Government, and showed it was trying to avoid scrutiny over its support for fracking.
This was an outrageous and underhanded way of wasting millions of litres of the NT’s water on dirty and dangerous fracking projects in the Beetaloo Basin.
Origin admits that one fracked gas well can use up to 60 million litres of water. We can no longer allow this kind of insane environmental degradation to take place upon the driest inhabited continent on earth.
As well, if gas companies like Origin and Santos are not stopped by communities, they will release 22 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent into the atmosphere equating to more than 20 years of Australia’s annual emissions.
The NT’s precious natural resources shouldn’t be put at risk so massive companies could sell dirty, polluting gas to the highest bidder overseas as the NT is already producing record volumes of gas exports.
If the Northern Territory is looking to create long lasting jobs for the decade ahead, international projects like solar power exports and world-class tourism will attract investment without the pollution impacts.”
Dan Robins

Protect Country Alliance



  1. Then, to add insult to injury, the minister and her chief staged gestures towards southern bushfire victims.
    Make no mistake: Fracking fans the flames. To maintain a safer climate, we need to keep untapped fossil fuels safely locked in the ground.
    One recommendation from the Pepper inquiry into fracking was that the large carbon burden of fracking should be offset.
    This NT labor government’s feint was to write a letter asking Prime Minister Scott Morrison for help with that. Smoco wrote back saying it would all be wrapped up in the Paris target.
    But this season’s fires have blown a hole in the carbon budget, and analysts warn that even if we were going to meet that target before, there’s no way now, with business as usual.
    The fires themselves represent a feedback loop: burning bush emits carbon, that increases the likelihood and severity of fire, that in turn releases more carbon. The best way we can help our fellow Australians who are living with this destructive summer fire season is to keep that gas where it is.

  2. No pollution impacts from world-class tourism? How does that work Mr Robins?
    Please explain … or do you think tourists walk or swim from all over the world to the NT?
    Regards from Europe.

  3. Well worth reading the Environmental Management Plan EP76 before commenting.
    There would be no impact on the nearest groundwater users due to extraction from the CLA at Velkerri 76 S2 for exploration activities.
    22 billion tonnes of CO2 released? Rubbish.
    Gas is a lot cleaner than coal.
    Bottom line is the NT is broke and there is no solution in sight from any party.
    Gas extracted onshore pays a royalty to the NT Government and the Beetaloo Basin could generate a very large income that would benefit all of us.
    Origin Energy is investing a very large sum of money here in the NT.
    They are taking a big risk with shareholders’ money.
    Thank you Origin Energy and Santos and Central Petroleum.
    They are risking money to move the Territory forward.

  4. What should the world do, leave the gas in the ground and burn coal instead?
    The world, including Australia, will not just stop development, because we all want to maintain our standard of living and renewables are too expensive.
    You can’t operate industry without fossil fuel based base load power. So let’s do the world and us a favour and burn gas which has half the emissions of coal.

  5. Yes, we need to leave the gas in the ground.
    Unfortunately gas is not replacing coal as an energy source but being added to the fossil fuel mix. Gas industries also release methane at every stage of the extraction process so climate change impact may be as high as coal.
    The NT’s immense solar resources provide sustainable economic opportunities to replace gas, and employ people in a wide range of occupations.
    Very disappointing from our ALP government which we elected for their claimed environmental concerns including an informed approach to the question of fracking.

  6. @ Michael McCauley: I think you’ll find it’s not about burning gas over coal, but the huge risks associated with fracking.
    Contamination of the groundwater seems a big one.
    In a place where people are not so reliant on groundwater (Alice Springs’s only source), it is even a higher risk.
    So then we have the decision: Industry over life. We have no other source of water.


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