There’s going to be a Senate enquiry into the Middle Arm Precinct plan for a gas, petrochemical, mineral and other energy export hub in Darwin Harbour. The Federal government has said it would invest $1.5b toward Middle Arm, which will enable the Beetaloo Basin shale fracking gas field to go ahead. 

The highly controversial Beetaloo gas field, the Climate Council says, is projected to emit the equivalent of more than three times Australia’s annual domestic emissions over the next two decades. It will cover a large area south of Katherine. 200-300 wells will be drilled per year using a method known as hydraulic fracking.

The Northern Territory Government recently announced the controversial development can go ahead, despite outstanding questions over its environmental and emissions impact, and lack of any credible plan to implement the recommendations of its own inquiries about the gas field.

Doing nothing to oppose this fracking disaster will put Australia’s climate targets and the Labor government’s own promises to the community out of reach.

The Climate Council says all new fossil fuel projects should be put on pause until the Federal Government can properly assess them under a stronger, reformed Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC), and

that the Albanese Government needs to fast track its reform of the EPBC Act, so that these carbon bombs can be properly dealt with by federal law. This work is moving far too slowly when we are in the critical decade for climate action. While we wait, climate wrecking projects are getting waved through at the state and territory level. Every week of delay is putting a safer climate further out of reach.”

Hydraulic fracking causes toxic air and water pollution, and carcinogenic pollutants and industrial accidents. The pollution contains toxic chemicals plus numerous natural occurring elements, including radioactive materials (uranium, radium), heavy metals (lead, arsenic, mercury), volatile organic compounds (benzene, toluene, phenols), hydrocarbons and other toxins.

Doctors for the Environment point out that there is overwhelming evidence of harm to communities living close to fracking operations, with special risks to infants and children. Risks for children and mothers include increased rates of pregnancy complications, birth defects, childhood cancers, asthma and conditions exacerbated by poverty and poor access to water such as rheumatic fever, sepsis, gastroenteritis. The health concerns are such that 1500 health professionals have signed a letter to the Prime Minister raising concerns about the health risks of Beetaloo fracking. Also see a recent study commissioned by pediatricians about their concerns about the proposed development.

Alongside the above groups, PHCCIG is calling for:

  1. The Albanese government to fast track the reform of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC), so that carbon bombs such as the Beetaloo Basin Shale-Fracking gas field be properly dealt with by federal law;
  2. Government subsidisation of the fossil fuel industry to stop altogether;
  3. Health Impact Assessments be carried out for the proposed project;
  4. the interests of Aboriginal stakeholders to be properly considered;

Please join us in calling for the above by emailing:  Tania Lawrence, MP, Member for Hasluck on