APPEA is calling for an end to scare campaigns against hydraulic fracturing in the Northern Territory.

This follows the release of an independent report by Dr Allan Hawke, which offers a strong vote of confidence in the development of a new natural gas industry in the Territory.

After a nine-month inquiry, Dr Hawke concluded that hydraulic fracturing can continue to be safely used to develop the Territory’s shale gas resource, estimated to be one of the largest in the world.

APPEA commended the Broome Shire Council for rejecting the anti-gas declaration that could have put local jobs and investment at risk.

APPEA Chief Operating Officer Western Region Stedman Ellis said the council had made a sensible decision.

“While local government may not be able to block projects, it can send a strong message that investment is unwelcome.”

Katherine Town Council (NT) were among those who supported calls for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing and shale gas development. APPEA Northern Territory Director Steven Gerhardy said the council was placing green ideology ahead of sensible economic development.

He said the report appeared to offer a sensible blueprint for the safe and responsible development of what could be an important new industry.

“A single shale-gas exploration program can generate millions of dollars of work for local businesses in areas such as civil works, transport, accommodation and other services.

“Shale gas has the potential to provide much-needed jobs, investment and improved infrastructure in remote and regional areas,” Mr Gerhardy said.

“Royalties from shale gas could also become an important new source of revenue for the NT, increasing financial certainty for future governments and reducing their reliance on Canberra.”

Mr Gerhardy said Dr Hawke had produced a comprehensive and credible report that was a victory for science over scaremongering. He urged activists who had campaigned for an inquiry into hydraulic fracturing to accept the inquiry’s findings.

“Dr Hawke has carefully considered the evidence, he has listened to all sides of the debate and he has concluded that with good operator practice and regulation, hydraulic fracturing can be done safely.

“Territorians can draw confidence from this report and from the fact that hydraulic fracturing has already been performed on more than 30 wells in the Territory since the 1970s without incident.”

Mr Gerhardy said the Northern Territory Government should avoid the mistakes of other governments that sought to appease opponents of gas development by imposing restrictive and unnecessary regulatory controls.


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