The 2016 NT state election saw a landslide victory for Labor. CLP lost 14 seats with the promise to frack.
With Labor gaining 10 seats, Territorians put trust in Labor’s election promise of a 5 year moratorium on fracking, and a full scientific inquiry to assess the risks. What was returned was an inquiry with weak terms of reference, and a “how to frack safely” manual was produced, and now the moratorium lifted not even 2 years after their election.
The Greens in this 2016 state election, fielded 6 candidates throughout the Territory, sometimes being the only choice for a permanent ban on fracking in their electorate. The newly formed Territory 1 party also promised a ban on fracking.
Labor’s promise of a moratorium was obviously enough to comfort voters at the time. But since (and before) the 2016 elections thousands of Territorians have rallied together to send a very clear message to Gunner and his Labor government that what the people want is a permanent ban on fracking.
Three separate petitions that have been presented to Parliament asking for a permanent ban on fracking. This represents thousands of Territorians with a long term view of what matters.
The SEED Indigenous Youth Network have been leading the fight, rallying support nationally (with a petition signed by over 21,000 people), and bringing together elders and communities in the proposed fracking “sacrifice” zones to engage with Gunners Labor government and ask for a ban on fracking. All Territorians, cattlemen, rural residents, scientists, unionists, young and old have rallied together to send this message loud and clear, with no response or engagement form Chief Minister Michael Gunner. Gunner has hidden behind the Scientific Inquiry, and now says he has listened to the people. Shame!
Inquiry 'falls short'
NT Greens say the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing report, underpinning Gunners decision, falls short of finding that all risks can be mitigated.
Some significant risks identified by the inquiry remain explicitly unmet in their final report.
Most alarming is fracking presents a massive carbon debt, with accompanying risks, but the inquiry’s draft did not propose mitigation. The final report does recommend 'governments seek to ensure that there is no net increase' in emissions.
With some understatement, the report acknowledges this as ‘a challenging task’, and declines to specify how an NT Government with no emissions target may cooperate with a federal government opposed to carbon pricing to realise this goal.
The Greens welcome the policy reforms proposed by the inquiry, but warn that these should not be mis-read as a green light for industry or an indication.
Bans are already in place in France, Bulgaria, Germany and Scotland. In Australia its banned in Victoria. These governments have listened to their people and take a lead. Here in the Territory, Gunner has betrayed the majority of people with his decision.
With Labor and CLP now both supporting fracking in the NT, at the next state elections in 2020 Territorians will have to look past these two major parties if we haven’t succeeded before then with our appeal for a permanent ban on fracking.
In the 2016 state election, as usual The Nightcliff electorate was the highest polling electorate for The Greens with 17.8%, and close behind was the neighbouring Johnston electorate receiving 17.2% of the votes, almost doubling on previous results. In 2020 we will field candidates in these seats again, and hopefully many more.
It is time for change. It is time the NT had a voice from The Greens in it Parliament. The NT is an environmental crime scene. There is no credibility in the current Parliament to consider ecological sustainable development.
The NT Greens have a plan for jobs and the economy, one that is equitable now, and for future generations, and will never include onshore shale gas production, or any sort of fracking.