On Wednesday the Katherine Town Council in the Northern Territory became the second local government area in the state to pass a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in unconventional gas extraction.
The news comes on the same day that the Tasmanian Government announced it would continue to ban fracking in the state for another five years.
The Wagait Shire Council was the first to ban the practice, passing its second anti-fracking motion on 15 February.
Steven Gerhardy, Northern Territory Director of oil and gas industry body, the APPEA, issued a statement saying the Katherine Town Council had, “effectively voted ‘No’ to local jobs and investment” by supporting the moratorium.
“The reality is hydraulic fracturing has already been practised on thousands of wells throughout Australia without incident, including more than 30 wells in the Northern Territory since the 1970s,” Mr Gerhardy said
“It is a safe, technologically-advanced activity.
“The council’s support for a moratorium not only ignores all the evidence, it places the region’s future economic development at risk.
“Katherine is in an ideal position to develop as a supply centre for the oil and gas industry which has been working with the Katherine Mining Services Association and local businesses to identify and develop opportunities.
“A single shale-gas exploration program can generate millions of dollars of work for local businesses in areas such as civil works, transport, accommodation and other services.
“Last year, one oil and gas company’s exploration program resulted in $7.5 million worth of contracts for Territory companies, mostly in Alice Springs.
“Can Katherine afford to say no to those sorts of opportunities?
“I urge the council to reconsider their decision and put the interests of local businesses first.”