Katherine declared frack free – victory over no-go zone fight
The whole of the Katherine municipality has been declared a fracking no-go zone.
The NT Government decision, announced today, is a significant victory for anti-fracking groups of Katherine Town Council who lobbied hard for the change.
The earlier no-go zones only included the township and not the entire municipality.
The Government today announced no-go zones for gas exploration and production, and released the Compliance and Monitoring Strategy.
All 31 recommendations identified by the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing (Inquiry) as requiring implementation before exploration drilling and fracking can occur have now been implemented.
The NT Government has implemented the criteria for no-go zones from the Inquiry, coupled with areas where there is no petroleum potential.
The formal establishment of the no-go zones under the Petroleum Act will occur in a staged process, with 49 per cent of the Territory identified to be protected from petroleum activity.
Action will be taken to declare immediate no-go zones.
Further consultations and negotiations will be undertaken with stakeholders, including Traditional Owners, to determine whether they want to declare areas within Aboriginal Land as no-go zones.
Following community consultation and feedback, Katherine and Alice Springs municipalities are both to be declared as no-go zones.
The Compliance and Monitoring Strategy outlines how key Government agencies will undertake active compliance, monitoring and surveillance to detect any non-compliances in the gas industry.
For information on progress towards the implementation of each of the 135 recommendations from the Inquiry – including the completion of the 31 recommendations required for exploration – go to: https://hydraulicfracturing.nt.gov.au/action-items
Information outlining no-go zone areas, the no-go zone criteria are available to view here: https://nt.gov.au/industry/mining-and-petroleum/land-tenure-and-availability/petroleum-reserved-blocks
Submissions received during public consultation are available to view here: https://haveyoursay.nt.gov.au/
The Compliance and Monitoring Strategy is available to view here https://denr.nt.gov.au/onshore-gas/onshore-gas-in-the-northern-territory/industry-compliance-and-reporting
Primary Industry and Resources Minister Paul Kirby said: “The Government has done exactly what we promised to do.
“Today we have reached a significant milestone with the completion of all the pre-exploration recommendations.
“Our Government will make sure that as the Territory’s onshore gas industry emerges, our unique natural environment is protected and local jobs come first.
Environment and Natural Resources Minister Eva Lawler said: “Our natural environment is one of our best assets and it’s a large part of what makes living in the Territory so special.
“It is important that our unique environment and the jobs that rely on it are protected – and that is exactly what this Government is doing.”
Meanwhile, the first Environment Management Plan (EMP) for Onshore Shale Gas Exploration Drilling has been approved in the McArthur Basin, following the completion of 31 recommendations from the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing required before shale gas exploration and drilling can commence.
The Santos McArthur Basin EP 161 Drilling Program 2019 EMP received 22 submissions as a result of the public consultation process.
Santos revised their EMP following the public consultation process, including the wastewater management plan and spill management plan, ensuring that environmental risks will be controlled and reduced to a level that is as low as reasonably practical and acceptable.
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