Traditional owners gather to fight fracking gas hub

Public money should not be used to "fill the pockets" of gas companies, say traditional owners opposed to a major mining and manufacturing project planned for the Northern Territory.

The proposed development of the Middle Arm precinct, a major processing hub for gas, petrochemicals, hydrogen and carbon capture near Darwin, is being probed in a Senate inquiry.

The federal government has committed $1.5 billion to developing the Middle Arm development, which critics say essentially amounts to a subsidy for fossil fuel companies.

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young
Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young is chairing an inquiry into the Beetaloo Basin.

Members of the Larrakia and Nurrdalinji communities will take part in a round table on Wednesday and have voiced their opposition to the development, which they see as enabling more fracking on their traditional lands.

Fracking is a drilling method used to extract natural gas from deep underground that greatly increases available gas reserves but which critics say causes devastating groundwater contamination.

Samuel Janama Sandy, a Jingili elder and chair of the Nurrdalinji Native Title body, has said the federal government should listen to traditional owners who oppose the technique on their country.

"Public money shouldn't be used to fill the pockets of big gas companies like Tamboran Resources who do not care about our country, water and cultural heritage," he said in a submission to the inquiry.

Tamboran, a gas company planning to frack in the Beetaloo Basin, will be a key tenant of the hub. 

In its own submission to the inquiry, Tamboran said the project was vital to ensuring Australia avoids an "energy supply crisis", with looming gas shortfalls in the east coast market.

"Australia has the opportunity to address those issues and secure an affordable and reliable domestic supply through our project in the Beetaloo Basin," the company said. 

"The benefits of which will put downward pressure on gas prices, meaning cheaper electricity for Australian households and industry."

The inquiry is being chaired by Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, who has said the federal government can not afford to open up any new coal or gas projects if it is to address the climate crisis.

Tamboran says Beetaloo gas provides a dependable route for Australia's renewable energy transition and would provide neighbouring countries with access to relatively cleaner gas in place of more emission-intensive coal power.

The company, and the NT government, have spruiked the project's jobs and economic potential, claiming it will provide 20,000 permanent, high-skill jobs from 2025.

License this article

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.

Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store