Northern Territory opposition leader, Michael Gunner has proposed a moratorium on fraccing within the state, if his party were to win at the next election.
Mr Gunner said the moratorium would stay in place until the Labor Government could determine the full implications of hydraulic fracturing.
The announcement has been questioned by industry professionals including The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA), as a moratorium of this kind could have significant ramifications for the East Coast Gas market if imposed.
According to NT Chief Minister, Adam Giles, “Labor’s ban threatens the $800million gas pipeline to the east coast, and the 900 jobs it will create by robbing the pipeline of gas it needs to be viable.”
APPEA South Australian and Northern Territory Director, Matthew Doman, said, “The prospect that a moratorium on fraccing would be enforced after this year’s NT election threatens real economic harm to Territorians, for no environmental gain.
“Labor believes the science of fraccing needs further investigation, but how many inquiries does this already proven practice need?”
Previously, the Australian Council of Learned Academies, the Chief Scientist of NSW, a WA Parliamentary Inquiry, a host of international studies – and in the NT, a comprehensive report by Dr Allan Hawke – have concluded that any risks associated with fraccing can be effectively managed by a robust regulatory regime.
Mr Doman said a moratorium on fraccing will have immediate negative impacts on Territorians.
“A study by Deloitte Access Economics found that a successful shale gas industry in the NT had the potential to deliver up to 6300 new jobs and increase NT Government revenues by almost $1billion by 2040. That’s a lot of money for roads, schools, hospitals and other community benefits.
“But Territorians don’t have to wait that long for real benefits as the companies planning investment in onshore gas exploration and production in the NT – Central Petroleum, Inpex, Origin, Pangaea, Santos and others – will invest hundreds of millions of dollars here in the next few years.
“These benefits are already being shared but they would cease under a moratorium.” Mr Dorman said.
Mr Dorman also said that banning fraccing will cut gas production in the NT.
“Less supply will mean higher prices for gas and electricity, as virtually all of the NT’s power supply comes from natural gas.
Stopping the industry in its tracks, denying benefits to these people, and Territorians generally – all because of false claims and short-term politics – would be a tragedy,” Mr Dorman said.