WE were pleased to hear the miners’ lobby plans to contribute to the NT Government’s inquiry into fracking.
After the CLP were routed at the recent poll, you could have forgiven the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association for taking their bat and ball and looking for greener pastures.
There’s simply too much at stake in this whole venture for the inquiry not to have all the information it will need.
Public support or otherwise for fracking was hardly tested at the election.
Today we are really little the wiser on what the majority of people think.
The election was clearly decided by a public revolt over a Government’s overall performance rather than any individual issues.
The fracking debate was all becoming a bit heated and blurred anyway, this pause has come at a good time.
The central arguments are very clear, or are they? We suspect not.
Proponents of unconventional gas promise a great job-producing bonanza, 6000 jobs or more.
While the Territory sorely needs a new industry which can sustain such numbers those claims have to be tested.
Injecting any sort of chemical deep underground when an area like Katherine relies so heavily on its clean, green image, not the least its tourist-friendly waterways, seems like madness.
Is there any such thing as a “safe” chemical? Maybe there is.
Some people did not feel they could contribute to the pre-poll debate because there was some bullying going on, on both sides.
Hopefully the fulfillment of the Government’s election commitment to not just implement a moratorium on fracking but to hold an inquiry will be able to flesh out the argument.
The government has promised “an independent scientific investigation and public consultation”.
That means all of us will have an opportunity to be involved, and dip beneath the hysteria to discover some truth.
The miners’ lobby has already promised to provide information to the inquiry which is “factual, complete and relevant to proposed development in the NT”.
This industry has so much potential to promote economic growth we cannot dismiss it based on emotion and not reason.
Let’s take a breath, and take our time.