Traditional Owners Are Outraged At $50 Million Government Handout To Fracking Groups In The NT
"It is very disturbing that our government will not listen to us. Injecting so much money into oil and gas when it should be used somewhere else".
Traditional owners are distressed that a $50 million fracking grant program will go ahead in the Northern Territory, diverting much needed funds away from First Nations communities, and desecrating sacred land.
The money will allow gas and mining corporations to set up exploratory drilling projects in and around the Beetaloo and McArthur River Basins.
On Monday, First Nations advocates gave testimonials before the Senate, expressing concern over the lack of consultation, and how fracking will impact connection to country and song lines. The Inquiry is being chaired by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.
Speakers raised concerns over essential services that desperately need investment instead, like education, health, infrastructure, families, and housing.
“The Government are putting money towards all these companies. This $50 million we keep hearing about should be spent in community,” Gadrian Hoosan said before the Senate.
“The water that lies under the land is connected to Aboriginal people — our lore and culture fits into the ground, as well as the land underneath. It feeds all Aboriginal people and non-Aboriginal people,” Jack Green said before the Inquiry, referring to fears that chemicals will contaminate water supplies.
In March, the Morrison Government revealed plans to hand out these grants as part of a “gas-led recovery” after the pandemic, according to The West.
A court case is also currently underway to challenge the Government’s $21 million grant to Empire Energy in the Beetaloo, as the project doesn’t fully consider the increase of emissions that fracking in the basin will cause.
Empire Energy granted $21m by Morrison Govt to frack Beetaloo Basin yet has never paid any tax in Australia. Traditional Owners say profits from existing projects are mostly going overseas – why would this be different? The Senate can & must stop this latest rort of public money.
— 💚🌏 Sarah Hanson-Young (@sarahinthesen8) July 28, 2021
Around 60 Aboriginal groups are located around the Beetaloo, with advocates saying older access agreements from a decade ago weren’t properly explained and have caused divisions within clan groups, SBS said.
“It is very disturbing that our government will not listen to us. Injecting so much money into oil and gas when it should be used somewhere else”, Johnny Wilson shared with the Senate on Monday.