The Northern Territory Government has released a plan to implement the recommendations of the independent scientific inquiry into unconventional hydraulic fracturing.

The framework outlines the need for collaboration and transparency between government, industry, local business and the broader community in ensuring the safe and sustainable development of the Territory’s onshore shale gas resources.

NT Chief Minister, Michael Gunner, said the plan would create new opportunities for Territorians.

“Unlocking these reserves will create a new industry for the Territory and with it new jobs, investment, infrastructure and exciting, well-paid career pathways for our young people,” Mr Gunner said.

The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) NT Director, Matthew Dorman, welcomed the Chief Minister’s commitment.

Mr Doman said the manner and timeframe in which the Government implement the inquiry’s 135 recommendations would be critical in determining the commercial viability of the industry. In particular, the Government has accepted that 47 of the recommendations must be brought into effect before exploration activity can resume.

“The industry notes the Government’s goal to implement these measures by the end of the year. This is critical to ensuring the industry can be on the ground exploring in the 2019 dry season,” Mr Doman said.

“Businesses, contractors and workers in the Territory are counting on the resumption of exploration activities and private investment to help get the Territory economy moving again.  Explorers stand ready to resume their activities as soon as the Government confirms the necessary regulatory arrangements are in place.

“As soon we can get back to work, we will again employ local people, engage local companies and resume royalty payments to host Traditional Owners. Our exploration activity will build our knowledge of the gas resources, groundwater and the environment that contains them — and enable informed decisions about future development.

“APPEA’s member companies stand ready to invest billions of dollars in new projects in the Territory. We are determined to do this in a safe and sustainable manner, and to generate real benefits for all Territorians.”

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