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Report reveals NT fracking offers limited benefits for Aboriginal people

[supplied by Nurrdalinji Aboriginal Corporation]


Beetaloo Basin Traditional Owners. Image: supplied

A secret report, commissioned by the Morrison government but never released, concludes that Traditional Owners from the Beetaloo Basin in the NT are unlikely to make economic, social, cultural or other gains from fracking plans for the region, explaining that “conditions are currently not conducive to strong agreements being negotiated,” contradicting claims by the gas industry that jobs and economic benefits will flow to communities (ABC AM program today).

It is unclear why the report, commissioned by the National Indigenous Australians Agency, was never made public. It says, “Almost always, Traditional Owners and native title holders are at a political, strategic, legal, financial and information disadvantage to the companies with which they are negotiating.” (p 7). Critically, the report reveals that, “even where strong agreements have been negotiated, the benefits for resident Indigenous population can still be decidedly mixed.” (p 8). 

Nurrdalinji Native Title Aboriginal Corporation, which represents Traditional Owners from the Beetaloo Basin, forced release of the report under FOI. Report and executive summary here. Key findings below. 

Djingili elder, native title holder and Deputy Chairman of Nurrdalinji Aboriginal Corporation, Samuel Janama Sandy, said,  “In terms of benefits and support from the fracking industry, it’s all talk, talk, talk and no action.

“The NT government, the gas companies and the Northern Land Council get the big share and our communities are left without jobs or support to grow stronger.

“We are getting a peanut, while the white man is packing up his pocket with cash. We should own land, buy businesses, but we got nothing.  

“I live in Katherine in a housing commission flat, on a wheelchair, and haven’t got a car or any of the benefits they say will come from fracking.

“Our people want jobs on country, but not jobs that involve drilling into our country.” 

“We want to protect our underground water, the environment, the animals and birdlife, from fracking. If it goes ahead, everything will be changed.

“We don’t want fracking, at any cost. The gas should be kept in the ground. Everything will be changed if they start production pretty soon like they say. We won’t be able to go out on country with our children and grandchildren. It will all be damaged”.

The Nurrdalinji Native Title Aboriginal Corporation includes native title holders from the Amungee Mungee, Beetaloo, Hayfield, Kalala, Newcastle Waters - Murranji, Nutwood Downs, Shenandoah, Tandyidgee, Tanumbirini, Daly Waters Township, Ucharonidge native title determinations.

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