NT fracking moratorium lifted

Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner today announced the NT Government had accepted all 135 recommendations of the independent fracking inquiry.

Mr Gunner said implementation of the recommendations of the final report of the inquiry would now begin so that Territorians could benefit from the creation of new jobs while protecting our unique natural environment for generations to come.

“We have accepted the key finding of the report – that if all the recommendations are implemented the risk from fracking can be reduced to an acceptable level,” said Mr Gunner.

“We have also accepted the inquiry’s advice about no go zones and coupled with areas where there is no petroleum potential, 49 per cent of the Territory will be frack free, including in National Parks, Conservation Areas, Indigenous Protected Areas, towns, residential and strategic assets, and areas of high cultural, environmental or tourism value.

“In the remainder of the Territory, strict new laws and regulations will be put in place to ensure that when fracking takes place, we protect the environment, the cultures and lifestyles that rely on it, and the many tourism, pastoral and agricultural jobs that depend on it.”

Some of the key elements of these new laws and regulations include:

  • Ensuring all Environmental Management Plans for fracking must be assessed by the EPA and signed off by the Minister for the Environment
  • Strict new requirements that must be met before exploration approval is granted including codes of practice for well integrity and well decommissioning, development of wastewater management frameworks, and the requirement for gas companies to obtain a water license
  • Strict new requirements that must be met before production can take place including the development of robust and transparent monitoring strategies, discussions with industry and pastoralists regarding land access requirements and compensation, and release of all environmental management plans for public comment
  • Broad standing to seek judicial and merits review of statutory decisions
  • Broad new powers to sanction non-compliance, civil enforcement proceedings and increased criminal penalties for environmental harm.

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