|The Australian Workers’ Union has welcomed the decision to lift the Northern Territory’s ban on fracking, but has urged the NT Government to guarantee any onshore shale gas extracted will stay in the country to support Australian jobs and households.|
|NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner lifted the Territory’s moratorium on onshore shale gas development.
“Allowing the development of onshore shale gas should be a huge boost to Australian jobs and households, but that will only happen if the gas extracted actually stays in the country,” said AWU National Secretary Daniel Walton.
“There’s little point extracting more of Australia’s gas if it’s just going to end up on a ship to Asia. Queensland has allowed the extraction of onshore gas for years, but Australia’s gas crisis persists, because most of that gas ends up liquified and headed to Asia.
“Australian factories are crying out for an affordable, reliable supply of gas. We have already seen thousands of jobs lost due to the gas crisis. Thousands more will go in the years ahead on current projections.
“It is a crime that the government of our gas-rich country has manufactured a situation in which Australian jobs are being lost due to high gas prices.
“Today’s decision by the NT Government has the potential to save thousands of Australian jobs if we get a guarantee the gas stays here.”
Mr Walton said that while he was aware of community concerns about fracking, the science on the issue was in.
“Working out the environmental risk on this issue should be left to environmental scientists, not community activists,” Mr Walton said.
“Let’s take the advice of the exports who took over a year to put together the independent scientific inquiry and move forward. The important thing is that this opportunity is not wasted.”