Inquiry panel into fracking sets Katherine date

NO FRACKING: Last year more than 200 Katherine residents took to the streets to protest unconventional gas extraction in the Northern Territory.
NO FRACKING: Last year more than 200 Katherine residents took to the streets to protest unconventional gas extraction in the Northern Territory.

THE Northern Territory’s scientific inquiry panel into proposed gas exploration in the Northern Territory will hold community consultations in Katherine on March 8. 

The Inquiry Chair, Justice Rachel Pepper, said in addition to scientific research analysis, community consultation is a critical component of the Inquiry’s evidence gathering program.

“Next month the Inquiry will visit fifteen locations across the Territory in order to better understand the community’s views on hydraulic fracturing,” Justice Pepper said.

“The objective is to listen, understand and report on the issues and concerns of all Territorians, within the scope of the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference.

“The consultation program will include a series of formal hearings as well as community sessions, with further details, including registration, available on our website this week.” she said.

The Inquiry has also finalised its issues paper, which will be released towards the end of this month, ahead of the March community visits.

“The issues paper will underpin the discussion with the community about the possible risks and potential benefits associated with hydraulic fracturing and its associated activities,” Justice Pepper said.

The issues paper will summarise the issues into themes, for example, water, air, and land access, and will provide a platform for discussion and community consultation.

Comments on the issues paper can be made through the inquiry's website or by sending a submission directly to the Inquiry.

“If people are unable to attend, we encourage them to write to the Inquiry, put in a submission, or go to our website and have their say on the issues and themes outlined in the paper,” she said

Feedback and information gathered during forthcoming community consultation will be included in an interim report.

“I look forward to moving to the next stage of the Inquiry and to talking and engaging with as many Territorians as possible. I am therefore pleased to announce the major centres and remote communities the Inquiry will visit,” Justice Pepper said.